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New Crew Chief for Marlin New Crew Chief for MarlinMB2 Motorsports officials say that Scott Eggleston will take over as crew chief for the No. 14 of Sterling Marlin, replacing Doug Randolph.  Randolph is being assigned to another position within the company.

"We're going through a restructuring, and once completed, we strongly feel it will be beneficial for the entire MB2 Motorsports organization," said MB2 Motorsports Chief Executive Officer and general manager Jay Frye. "We welcome Scott, who has worked with Sterling in the past. The working chemistry that Scott and Sterling have established will be a strong asset for the No. 14. Regarding Doug, he will continue to play an integral role in our organization."

Hornish honored in Ohio Hornish honored in OhioOhio Congressman Paul E. Gillmor (R-Ohio) recently introduced a resolution to honor Sam Hornish Jr.'s accomplishment of winning the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 mile race.

Hornish, a resident of Napoleon, Ohio, lives in Gilmour's district and recently attended the Lincoln-Hayes dinner in Bowling Green, OH as a guest of the congressman.

Rep. Gillmor issued a resolution stating that "the House of Representatives recognizes Sam Hornish Jr. for his victory in the Indianapolis 500."

"Sam Hornish, Jr. is not just Indy's champion, he's Ohio's champion. Sam was raised in Defiance, went to school in Archbold, and even as he has become a national name, he continues to live in Napoleon," Gillmor said. "I admire Sam's leadership in the community, his charity work and his commitment to being a good role model for our next generation. He is a modest leader and deserves to be honored for his win at Indy."

SPEED to offer extensive USGP coverage SPEED to offer extensive USGP coverageSpeed Channel will provide complete coverage of the United States Grand Prix Formula One race, qualifying and practice sessions June 30-July 2 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Live Race Day coverage from the 13-turn, 2.605-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course begins on Speed with pre-race coverage at 12:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday, July 2. The seventh running of the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis gets underway at 1 p.m.

Four hours of live practice coverage on Speed will air from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, June 30. Speed will telecast Saturday's practice session live from 10-11 a.m. July 1 and then televise qualifying live from 1-2:30 p.m.

Speed Channel's coverage team for the United States Grand Prix is Bob Varsha, play-by-play; David Hobbs and Steve Matchett, analysis and color commentary; and Peter Windsor, pit reporter. Sam Posey, a former Formula One and Indianapolis 500 competitor, has joined Speed Channel's USGP broadcast team to provide feature commentary. zzzz

United States Grand Prix spectators and Indianapolis-area residents also can listen to the race live on local radio station WIBC-AM 1070, with coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network from 12:30-3 p.m. July 2. The IMS Radio Network's USGP coverage team is Bob Jenkins, host; Donald Davidson, historian; and Jerry Baker, Chris Denari, Kevin Lee and Tom Michaels, turn reporters.

Speed is providing USGP fans with a special USGP pre-race show at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 1. Speed's on-air F1 broadcasters will have the rare opportunity to conduct one-on-one interviews with Formula One drivers and play host to fan question-and-answer sessions. The
show will be taped during the Pit Walkabout on Thursday, June 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Speed also will broadcast the USGP edition of its regular show "Inside Grand Prix," which looks behind the scenes of Formula One, at 3 p.m. June 30. The show will be replayed at 2:30 p.m. July 1 and 4:30 a.m. July 2.

Scott Speed, the first American race driver in Formula One since 1993, will appear on "Wind Tunnel" with host Dave Despain on Sunday, June 25. The show starts at 9 p.m. on Speed Channel. Scott Speed, who drives for Scuderia Toro Rosso, will accept fan phone calls and e-
mails during his appearance.

ESPN2 will televise the Liberty Challenge Indy Pro Series race, which will take place at 2:40 p.m. July 1 at the United States Grand Prix, on taped-delayed basis at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 6.

SPEED's complete Formula One broadcast schedule at the 2006 United States Grand Prix (all times are Eastern):

Friday, June 30

11 a.m.-3 p.m.
USGP practice (live)

3-3:30 p.m.
Inside Grand Prix: USGP (tape)

7:30-11:30 p.m.
USGP practice (replay)

Saturday, July 1

10-11 a.m.
USGP practice (live)

1-2:30 p.m.
USGP qualifying (live)

2:30-3 p.m.
Inside Grand Prix: USGP (tape)

8-10 p.m.
USGP pre-race special (tape, highlighted coverage)

Sunday, July 2

Midnight- 2 a.m.
USGP pre-race special (replay)

3-4:30 a.m.
USGP qualifying (replay)

4:30-5 a.m.
Inside Grand Prix: USGP (tape)

12:30-3 p.m.
2006 United States Grand Prix (live)

11 p.m.-1:30 a.m.
2006 United States Grand Prix (replay)

2006 USGP tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, July 2.

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.

A three-day "Season Pass" for the event is only $60. The pass is good for admission to IMS for all three days of on-track activity, Friday, June 30-Sunday, July 2. All seating Friday and Saturday is general admission, and the pass provides general admission access to the
Viewing Mounds, Infield, First Turn Terrace, South Terrace and Tower Terrace (Sections 39-77) on Sunday, July 2.

Reserved seats for Race Day, Sunday, July 2, start at $75.

Foyt on the mend Foyt on the mendFour-time Indianapolis 500 winner and IndyCar Series team owner A.J. Foyt is scheduled to have his left knee replaced with an artificial knee on Monday following the race at Richmond.

The ensuing rehabilitation means that Foyt will miss both the Kansas and Nashville race events. Foyt has only missed a handful of events since he began fielding cars in the  IndyCar Series in 1996.

"My knee's gotten so bad that I can't wait until the season is over to have it done," Foyt said. . "I've been putting it off for about five years now but I can't do that anymore." 

IRL looking to target NASCAR fans IRL looking to target NASCAR fansSo who is an IndyCar fan and what is IRL doing to build its fan base?

"We were shooting at too broad a fan base," said J. Michael Ringham, vice president of marketing for the Indy Racing League. "We see them [IndyCar fans] as NASCAR fans. We target to motor sports fans. I don't want to steal Nextel [NASCAR] fans, I just want to borrow them for a couple hours each week."

Ringham, who joined the IndyCar Series last October, said past marketing efforts were too broad, that the fan target was the general population. He used Richmond as an example where NASCAR fans cross over to IndyCar fans.

"If you provide something that is significant . . . we generally have a pretty compelling show . . . motor sports fans will generally cross over," Ringham said.

Another issue IndyCar is addressing, Ringham said, is consistency. "Part of our problem has been they [fans] didn't know when and where we were. We have to establish that we can repeat. We haven't done a stellar job of that. We are working on a strategic direction for our schedule so people know when and where we'll be."

Part of the marketing strategy for IndyCar is fan access - to drivers and the garage area. "I don't know any other series where drivers dedicate an hour to signing autographs and meeting the fans," Ringham said. "Our guys are accessible."

Fan access to the garage is safer than at NASCAR races because IndyCars are pushed, rather than driven, in and out of the area. That fan additive plays to the reputation of IndyCar fans being a bit more tech savvy. "IndyCar fans are more passionate about how something works," said Matthew Becherer, senior director of marketing and sales at the Richmond International Raceway.

A matter of scale is the biggest difference between NASCAR and IndyCar, according to Becherer. While NASCAR has name - or star power - Becherer says IndyCar is making progress.

"I think they are going down the right path," he said. "Indy has tons of marketable drivers. . . . What they need is a title sponsor. People don't recognize the penetration a sponsor can offer in reaching fans."

IndyCar is here to stay and not going away, according to Becherer. Since coming to Richmond in 2001, he said renewal rates have increased 10 percent a year after a 25 percent increase the first year. Becherer echoed Ringham's strategy of consistency when he said: "People think promotion is about PR people and what promotions people do on event day. But there is no better promotion than a neighbor telling his friend how great the event was."  More at Richmond Times Dispatch

Fight Network joins forces with Toronto GP Fight Network joins forces with Toronto GPThe fighting won’t just be for pole position at this year’s Molson Grand Prix of Toronto.  Today, The Fight Network, North America’s only 24 hour combatant sports specialty channel and the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto announced a two-year promotional partnership that will see mixed martial arts and boxing events and celebrity fighter appearances during race weekend July 7, 8 and 9, 2006.

Wrestling Superstar Bret “Hitman” Hart joined Charlie Johnstone, Grand Prix Association of Toronto President and CEO and Mike Garrow, The Fight Network President to make the special announcement.  In addition to the programming, the trio revealed a line up of The Fight Network special guests that will be showcased at this year’s Molson Grand Prix of Toronto, including: Bret “Hitman” Hart, AJ Styles of TNA Wrestling and more surprise guests to be announced.

“This relationship represents the new efforts we’re making to add to the total fan experience both on and off-track at our event,” stated Charlie Johnstone. “The addition of two Fight Network competition sized rings in our Thunder Alley area this year will provide visitors with a truly rare opportunity to interact with the stars of mixed martial arts, wrestling and boxing.” zzzz

The two-year partnership will have the two organizations cross-promoting throughout the year and looking to engage their audiences with unique offers.

“We’re delighted to partner with Molson Grand Prix of Toronto,” explained Mike Garrow. ”We share a comparable fan base so it makes good business sense to partner.  We always jump at a chance to bring live programming to events and get up close and personal with our Fight Network Fans,” he added.

The two organizations have begun jointly promoting their “Rumble at the Race” program that will feature mixed martial arts demonstrations and boxing bouts in Thunder Alley throughout the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto weekend as well as appearances from stars of the mixed martial arts, boxing and pro wrestling world.  
“My two great passions are racing and fighting,” said Bret Hart, “So I can’t wait to take part in this year’s Molson Grand Prix of Toronto.”

About the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto
New ownership, a new name and a new attitude makes this a landmark year for the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto.  For the past 20 years, Torontonians have celebrated a long-weekend of racing on their streets and 2006 promises to be another spectacular festival of international racers and exciting off-track entertainment. Tickets are on sale now at www.grandprixtoronto.com or by calling 1-416-872-2222. 

Join the REVolution.  Evolution. Only Faster!

About The Fight Network
The Fight Network is a cross-platform media company with brand interest in television, radio and web.  All three of these media offerings are seamlessly integrated to offer fans of combatant sports and related entertainment a true convergence experience. The Fight Network Inc. corporate headquarters is located in Toronto, Canada. Additional information on the company can be found at www.thefightnetwork.com.

Super Aguri concludes minor sponsor deal Super Aguri concludes minor sponsor dealSUPER AGURI F1 TEAM is pleased to announce that it has concluded an agreement with RODAC International BV to provide the team with tools for the production process and the maintenance of the team’s Formula One cars in its factory based in England and at the Grand Prix circuits around the world in the role of Official Team Supplier.

Based in Sittard in The Netherlands, RODAC has been a worldwide supplier of pneumatic tools and garage equipment for almost forty years. The RODAC company logo will be situated on the cladding of the SAF1 Team garage, on the team’s tool boxes, tool trolleys, race and test trucks and in the UK factory. The company is also planning to develop products exclusively for the SAF1 Team.

Leon J.W. Melchior, CEO of RODAC International BV: “We are pleased to announce that RODAC has become an official supplier to the SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM. It is an honor that we can make our official entrance in to motorsport by working together with such an ambitious and promising new Formula One team.”

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal, SUPER AGURI F1 Team: “It is a pleasure to welcome RODAC into the SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM family. I am confident that RODAC will play an important role within the team as its products will be pivotal to its manufacturing process, and ultimately, the success of the team.”

track news
Oz GP boss vows fight for season-opening slot Oz GP boss vows fight for season-opening slot(GMM) Australia's grand prix boss has vowed to keep fighting to restore Melbourne to the top of the formula one schedule.

To make way for the Commonwealth Games, the race at Albert Park deferred to season-opening substitute Bahrain earlier this year but remains contracted to open the calendar.

However, with Bahrain recording better global TV ratings than usual in 2006 due to the more favorable time-zone, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is understood to be considering a full-time relegation for Australia, host of the opening slot since 1996.

But Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) chairman Ron Walker says that he was 'as confident as I can be' that Melbourne will resume its usual place next year.

He recently traveled to London for talks, and, also referring to F1's French-based governing body, added on Wednesday: ''I spoke to Mr. Ecclestone last night and I'll be in Paris in the next fortnight.''

Racing News
Mario Andretti says CARS is a must-see Mario Andretti says CARS is a must-seeMario Andretti's favorite movie is now CARS.  He and the entire family have seen it.   It's about Lightning McQueen, an egotistical talented loner race car who learns humility.  Speeding on his way to a big race, he crashes into Radiator Springs, destroying lots of the inhabitants' belongings.  In order to make up for what he did, the cocky roadster is sentenced to community service. Though he will do anything to get away from the work, McQueen must learn to respect and bond with the Radiator Springs inhabitants in order to get out of the town and back on the race tracks.

This animated movie is set inside the world of cars, each car with a well-known voice:  Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman, Larry the Cable Guy, Cheech Marin, George Carlin, Michael Keaton, Tony Shalhoub and John Ratzenberger.  Racing stars Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Michael Schumacher and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. also lend their voices.

The movie is directed by John Lasseter, a personal friend of Mario's.   If you watch closely, you'll see Mario in a cameo role playing himself -- as a light blue Ford Fairlane.   It was a treat for Mario to go to Pixar's studio in California last summer and record the voice for his animated car, based on the stock car he drove to victory in the 1967 Daytona 500 (shown at right).   While there, they took many close-up photos, focusing on his eyes.  ''John tries to capture the eyes on the windshield of the car,'' Mario said. ''It gives the car its personality.''

Mario says the movie is charming -- with heart, great characters and a script with a moral message.  "Everyone should go see this film," Mario suggests.  "I highly recommend it." Andretti.com

Have a Race Named After You Have a Race Named After YouCrown Royal Championship Racing announced that the official name of the spring NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway will be awarded to an adult fan that wins the Crown Royal "Your Name Here 400" contest. The landmark promotion will mark the first time the name of a major professional sporting event will be awarded to a consumer. Until a winner is crowned, the working title for the race will be "Crown Royal presents The Your Name Here 400." During next year's DAYTONA 500®, the grand prize winner will be randomly chosen from a pool of 10 finalists, at which point the name of the race will be replaced with the name of the consumer. The 10 finalists will be selected based on having the best submissions chronicling their favorite "CROWN-WORTHYT" moments. A "CROWN-WORTHY" moment is defined as a memorable moment or occasion deemed "worthy" of toasting with a Crown Royal cocktail in a responsible manner (i.e., celebrating an anniversary, big promotion at work, etc.). Alan Taylor Communications
Solberg re-signs with Subaru Solberg re-signs with SubaruThe Subaru World Rally team has confirmed that number one driver, Petter Solberg will remain with the team in 2007, after the Norwegian inked a new deal.

"We're delighted that Petter will remain at Subaru, it is great news for the team," said Subaru WRT managing director, Richard Taylor. "Over the past six seasons we've developed a very strong relationship with Petter and he has become a great ambassador for Subaru and the sport in general."

Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 6-21-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1) 9.924
2. (2) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.946
3. (7) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.782
4. (5) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 7.674
5. (13) Kasey Kahne (NASCAR) 7.635
6. (3) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 7.543
7. (14) Dale Earnhardt Jr (NASCAR) 7.383
8. (4) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.354
9. (8) Michael Schumacher (F1) 7.272
10. (10) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 7.244
11. (21) A.J. Allmendinger (CCWS) 6.916
12. (11) Scott Dixon (IRL) 6.914
13. (12) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 6.850
14. (NR) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.741
15. (6) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 6.618
16. (NR) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 6.362
17. (16) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 6.344
18. (17) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.283
19. (NR) Reed Sorenson (NASCAR) 6.084
20. (19) Sam Hornish Jr (IRL) 6.073

Dropped out: Tony Stewart (NASCAR), Mark Martin (NASCAR), Kurt Busch (NASCAR), Scott Riggs (NASCAR)

Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

For a complete ranking, please visit www.speedtv.com

Ralf out to avoid Indy shunt hat-trick Ralf out to avoid Indy shunt hat-trick(GMM) Ralf Schumacher would be forgiven for not counting the upcoming United States grand prix as a favorite race.

In 2004, the German shunted his Williams in the flat-out oval corner at more than 300kph and missed several subsequent races with an injured back.

Then, returning a year later for Toyota, lightening struck twice; triggering the infamous six-car 'Indy-gate', Ralf - coincidentally - again fell foul of turn-13 with a left-rear Michelin tire failure and found himself en-route to downtown hospital.

''I was convinced,'' Schumacher recalls to 'Kicker', ''that the devil would not pinch me in the same place twice -- but it happened.''

Nevertheless, Schumacher is again confident that - third time lucky - he'll escape the American race unscathed. The seventh, and possibly last, F1 race at the fabled 'Motor Speedway' will be staged a week after Sunday's Canadian GP.

Ralf, 30, explained: ''When you have a tire failure there is nothing as a driver that you can do. But three times in a row -- you can't have that much bad luck.

''I just hope for a normal race because I have never finished at Indy.''

Braking is key in Montreal says Montoya Braking is key in Montreal says MontoyaSpeaking about the upcoming race in Montreal Juan Montoya said : "Although Silverstone and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve are both pretty high speed, it is in a very different way. At Silverstone, you don't really need to brake all that much. At Canada however, braking is key, with the most severe demands of the year in this area. As a result, we will run with increased brake cooling, so you will see larger openings in the bodywork. In addition there is a real focus with the set-up on braking stability. There are various areas that can be adjusted to improve braking performance, such as weight distribution and aero and mechanical balance."

"Alongside braking, straight line speed is also vital at Montreal, because of all the long straights, particularly when trying to overtake. There are chances, such as into the hairpin. The Canadian Grand Prix is a great race, as it is so close to downtown Montreal, the atmosphere is like a carnival. I really enjoy the race and hope I have a less eventful time this year!"

PJ Jones to drive for Morgan-McClure at Infineon PJ Jones to drive for Morgan-McClure at InfineonPJ Jones. a road course specialist, will replace regular driver Scott Wimmer in the Morgan-McClure Motorsports (MMM) No. 4 Aero Exhaust Chevrolet Monte Carlo for this weekend's Dodge/Save Mart 350. "I believe I could go there [Infineon] and probably get our car in the race, but if I had a problem somewhere on the course qualifying the car, I might not be able to recover and make it up somewhere else on the course as well as someone like P.J. who has done road course racing a lot more. It just made good business sense with our recent drop to 39th in owner's points, to take advantage of this opportunity to hopefully get a really good finish for our team" said Scott Wimmer regarding the driver change. PJ Jones was somewhat surprised by his good fortune: ""I'm excited about being able to go back to Infineon Raceway with the Morgan-McClure bunch. I got to race there last year with them and also at Watkins Glen and I always enjoy driving for Larry [McClure] and Tim [Morgan]. I think we will have a lot better opportunity this year by getting started earlier and having two weeks to prepare for the race rather than two hours. I really didn't think the opportunity to race at Infineon was going to present itself being this close to the race. I thought I had exhausted all my opportunities and it just wasn't looking good. I guess when it rains it pours because I had planned to go to Milwaukee and race a Busch car but I think it's more important for me to go to Infineon and race the 4 car." Morgan-McClure Motorsports
Free tickets courtesy of Michelin Free tickets courtesy of MichelinMichelin has already refunded millions of dollars to last year’s USGP F1 ticket buyers because its faulty tires made a farce out of the race.  In addition it is giving those who reorder tickets two additional free ducats for this year’s race.
Shell diesel fuel powers winning Audi Shell diesel fuel powers winning AudiThe world of motor racing was turned upside-down last Sunday, as Shell V-Power Diesel race fuel powered Audi Sport to victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race – re-writing the history books to become the first ever diesel-powered winner of the legendary endurance event.

In a grueling 24 hours of hard-charging, heart-stopping action, drivers Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner utilized the relentless power and efficiency offered by Shell V-Power Diesel race fuel to complete 380 laps of the sweeping French circuit. Not only did this see them 4 laps ahead of the competition, but safely into the history books as the only drivers to win motor racing’s most punishing event - with diesel in the tank.

With both cars on the front row of the grid the performance advantage of Shell V-Power Diesel race fuel was clear to see as the Audi R10 TDI were over 2.5 seconds ahead of the field after the first lap.

With the help of Shell V-Power Diesel technology continuously cleaning the fuel injection system, the winning Audi R10 TDI was able to sustain this great performance right through to the end of the race, and after 27 pit stops over 24 hours, the winning car completed 380 laps to secure an unforgettable maiden victory.

Shell V-Power Diesel is a top performance diesel fuel designed to help modern diesel engines deliver more power, for longer. Already available at about 5,000 service stations across Europe, Shell scientists have used the same fuel technology behind V-Power Diesel to create this special racing fuel for Le Mans.

This remarkable result was due in part to the inclusion of Shell GTL (Gas to Liquids) Fuel in the race formulation. Shell V-Power Diesel is the first and only premium diesel to use this special synthetic fuel technology which is created from natural gas in Malaysia using a unique Shell synthesis process. Shell GTL Fuel burns more cleanly and efficiently than conventional diesel because of its outstanding purity and cetane quality.

Mike Copson, Shell Motorsport Technical Manager commented, “What we have achieved today would have simply been unimaginable a few years ago. It’s a landmark victory for Shell, and for diesel as a whole, and we’re very proud to have created the first ever diesel fuel with the enduring power needed to win at Le Mans.”

Bosch developed special fuel injection for Audi Bosch developed special fuel injection for AudiTogether with Audi, Bosch has developed the diesel-injection system for the successful Audi R10 TDI racing cars, supplying high-pressure pumps, injectors, and the engine control unit for the motor-racing common-rail system. At the world-famous long-distance race in Le Mans, France, on June 18, 2006, the two racing cars came in first and third.

With this result, the two companies have notched up a further success for their motor-racing alliance: in past years, Audi won several races in Le Mans with the predecessor model, the R8, whose FSI direct injection system was also developed together with Bosch. "We are pleased that this year we were able to play our part in racing success with our innovative diesel injection equipment," says Dr. Ulrich Dohle, president of the Bosch Diesel Systems division. "In recent years, high performance and low consumption have already helped the diesel engine to success in series-produced models. Now, the diesel has also shown what it can do on the race track." zzzz

As development partner, Bosch supplies the specially adjusted high-pressure pumps and piezo-inline injectors for the common-rail injection system installed in the R10 TDI. Its engineers have also used the specific racing know-how of Audi Sport as the basis for developing the new electronic control unit for the car's 12-cylinder engine. When developing the injection system, the greatest challenge was the variable control of the extremely high injection pressure. Bosch also supplies the telemetrics system that ensures an uninterrupted transmission of data from the vehicles to the pits during the race.

Bosch has pooled all its motor racing activities into one separate unit, "Bosch Motorsport." It is part of Bosch Engineering GmbH, the Bosch subsidiary that specializes in engineering services. Motor racing services at Bosch can look back on a long tradition: as early as 1903, Bosch engineering first helped racing drivers to victory. Bosch

track news
Milwaukee and Summerfest announce partnership Milwaukee and Summerfest announce partnershipMILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Mile and Summerfest are teaming up this summer to bring more entertainment to Wisconsin consumers and cross-promote the events. The Mile will have its Mobile Mile fan interactive road show at Summerfest this year.

Summerfest will be presenting a pre-Summerfest concert with The Bobby Friss Band during this weekend’s NASCAR event weekend at The Mile. The Bobby Friss Band will also perform at this year’s Summerfest, the World’s Largest Music Festival, which takes place June 29 - July 9, 2006 on Milwaukee’s beautiful lakefront.

On Sunday, July 23, The Milwaukee Mile will be hosting the stars of the Indianapolis 500 competing in the ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225 IRL IndyCar Series event. On race morning, the track will host a post-Summerfest “Thank You Concert” featuring The Eddie Butts Band, another perennial favorite at Summerfest. In addition, Summerfest will have a visual presence trackside at The Mile for the duration of the racing season. zzzz

The Mobile Mile is an outreach program that will provide Summerfest attendees with a chance to experience and view the excitement of the legacy and history of The Milwaukee Mile, the oldest continuously operating motor speedway in the world.

“As new Milwaukee Mile promoters, we are reaching out into all areas, through our Miss Milwaukee Mile contest, through our Mobile Mile road show and other initiatives,” commented Andy Randall, Milwaukee Mile President & CEO. “On behalf of our chairman Craig Stoehr, we are very pleased to be working with Summerfest in gaining awareness for the rich racing history of America’s Legendary Oval at Summerfest, the World’s Largest Music Festival.”

”We are very excited about partnering with the Milwaukee Mile. Both Summerfest and The Mile are genuine Milwaukee assets that continually deliver summer excitement and a fantastic entertainment value for our community year after year,” stated Don Smiley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. “Working closely to cross-promote each other makes a lot of sense for us as marketers, and for the patrons that we host.”

The Mobile Mile will be at the South end of Summerfest grounds for the run of the event, including appearances by the Milwaukee Mile Grid Girls, and a chance to sign up for the Miss Milwaukee Mile contest. Details of these activities can be found by visiting www.milwaukeemile.com.

Hildebrand Has a Chance to Make History Hildebrand Has a Chance to Make HistoryPalmetto, Fla. – J.R. Hildebrand has etched his name in the record books by claiming six consecutive race victories in the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship. The gifted California teenager’s pair of wins at Portland, Ore., last weekend allowed him to extend his championship points lead and mirror the feat established way back in 1993 by Chris Simmons and equaled last year by Jay Howard, who, like Simmons, went on to secure the championship crown. (Simmons currently serves as an engineer with Target/Chip Ganassi Racing in the Indy Racing League, while Howard has graduated into the Indy Pro Series and currently leads the point standings after five races.)

Hildebrand will have an opportunity to establish a brand-new benchmark when the FF2000 field reconvenes this weekend for a pair of races on the fast and challenging Burke Lakefront Airport temporary circuit in Cleveland, Ohio.

"As competitive as FF2000 is and given the number of top-line professional drivers the series has turned out since its inception, merely being able to win races definitely gives you a pretty high standing with drivers and sponsors in terms of your future," Hildebrand says, "but to have the opportunity to do something nobody else has done is certainly a pretty special feeling. And more importantly it would put me in an extremely good position for next year."

In addition to his unbeaten record, Hildebrand has earned the bonus point for leading most laps in all six races and has started from the pole (also worth a championship point) on every occasion except the season opener at Road Atlanta, where his Cape Motorsports teammate Dane Cameron took the honor. zzzz

Hildebrand, 18, from Sausalito, Calif., made his Cooper Series debut at Cleveland in 2005, earning a pair of podium finishes with PR1 Motorsports, while his current team claimed a second-place finish with Briton Joey Foster. So don’t be surprised to see the #2 Formotion/Spy Optics/Mockett.com Van Diemen RF05 running up front again.

"I think of all the races this year, the team and myself have got the best collective experience at Cleveland, because it’s the only track on the schedule I’ve been to before," says Hildebrand. "I’d have to say we’ve got a good shot at extending this win streak...as long as we can make it through Turn One."

Ah yes, Turn One. The notoriously tight right-hand hairpin turn, which directly follows one of the widest straightaways in the entire auto racing world (and which for 362 days of the year is an active airport runway), traditionally has been a magnet for disaster. Negotiating that corner on the first lap might well be the key to his potential success, especially since a competitive field of over 30 drivers is hungry to bring Hildebrand’s streak to an end.

Among the primary challengers will be 20-year-old Andy Knight, from Christchurch, New Zealand, who finished a season-best second at Portland last Saturday with the G.FRO team’s #33 Latimer Hotel/NAPA/Valvoline/Denso Van Diemen. The result vaulted Knight into the lead of the Greg Moore Rookie of Year point standings.

Other leading contenders will include Sonoma, Calif., youngster Dane Cameron (#19 Finlay Motorsports/Jim Russell Racing School/Red Line Oil Van Diemen), rapid Venezuelan Ricardo Vassmer (#25 Meridiano Television/Santa Barbara Airlines/JDC Motorsports Van Diemen) and top Cooper Masters contender (for drivers over 35 years of age) Jason Byers (#28 A&B Refrigeration/St. Clair Motorsports Van Diemen), from Livonia, Mich.

Local honor will be upheld by series debutant David Kovach, from Westlake, Ohio, and veteran Mark Defer, from Streetsboro, Ohio, who will attempt to end the domination by young Floridian Cole Morgan in the Cooper Gold Cup category (for older, Pinto-powered SSCA Formula Continental-spec cars).

The Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship is sanctioned by the National Auto Sports Association (NASA) and represents one of the first rungs on the professional open-wheel auto racing ladder in North America. It features single-seat race cars powered by 160 hp engines and running on "slick" (treadless) Cooper Zeon racing tires. Alumni include Champ Car World Series title-winners Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy; and the past three Indianapolis 500 champions Buddy Rice, Dan Wheldon and Sam Hornish Jr.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Shnaider to attend Montreal race
Schu relieved at tire guru news
No regrets despite '06 struggle says Aguri
JV says talks on about 2007 contract
Schu'll do it again - Head
Hofmann to replace Gibernau Hofmann to replace GibernauSete Gibernau underwent an operation to fix the fracture in his left collarbone today. The Spanish rider now needs a period of recovery and he will be replaced by Alex Hofmann at the Dutch TT. Loris Capirossi, undergoing physiotherapy to get back in shape as soon as possible, is already on his way to Assen.

Sete underwent surgery at Dexeus Hospital in Barcelona, where Dr. Xavier Mir and Dr. Ignacio Ginebrera replaced the metal plate already present in his collarbone from a previous incident with a new one in titanium. Dr. Mir declared that a recovery period of 3-5 weeks will be necessary before the Spanish rider can return to the track.

"The operation went well", declared Dr. Mir. "We removed the plate covering the old injury to Sete Gibernau's left collarbone and repaired the new fracture by applying a new titanium plate. The rider will now have to wait between 3 to 5 weeks before being able to race again." zzzz

Thanks to the Pramac D'Antin MotoGP Team and its sponsors, Luis d'Antin, Paolo Campitoti and Alex Hofmann, the Italian team will however be in a position to race both its Desmosedici GP6 machines at the imminent race in the Netherlands, despite the short period of time between Barcelona and Assen. For the Dutch TT, Sete Gibernau will be replaced by the German rider.

Loris Capirossi (2nd place in World Championship with 99 points)
After being kept in overnight for observation on Sunday at Catalunya General Hospital, Loris returned to Monte Carlo with his physiotherapist Roberto Brusi. Both men immediately got down to work with a massage therapy aimed at eliminating as quickly as possible the effects of the bruising Capirossi received during the horrific first-corner incident at Barcelona. The gutsy Italian rider is now on his way to Assen for the Dutch TT race.

"That was a big crash but luckily I got off quite lightly. I received a nasty blow to the chest, which is still bothering me. My physiotherapist Roberto has been with me all the time and we immediately began to work on rehab, with a series of massages to help the bruising go down. I'd like to thank the Clinica Mobile and Dr. Costa, whose assistance as always has been absolutely priceless. I'm not yet 100% fit but the important thing is to get back on the bike as soon as possible and see how it goes: I'm going to Assen with even more fighting spirit than usual!"

Livio Suppo (Ducati MotoGP project leader)
"I am relieved to see that the consequences of last Sunday's crash are being resolved relatively easily. Loris is undergoing rehabilitation and is now on the way to the Netherlands in his usual determined frame of mind. Sete has just come out of the operating room and the doctors confirmed that the operation was successful. We are very sorry that he has to miss the next two GPs, but it could have been worse so we must breathe a sigh of relief and hope that Sete completely recovers as soon as possible. I would like to thank Alex Hofmann, Luis D'Antin, Paolo Campitoti, all the Pramac D'Antin MotoGP Team and their sponsors for the availability they have shown towards us. Although the Assen race comes just 6 days after the incident at Barcelona, we will now be in a position to line up with both of our bikes." Ducati

Canadian GP quiz Canadian GP quiz
1. Two Canadian drivers, one originally from the Netherlands and the other from Great Britain, took part in the first Grand Prix of Canada at Mosport in 1967. Who were they ?
a. Ernie DeVos and Peter Ryan
b. Bill Brack and John Cordts
c. Eppie Wietzes and Al Pease
d. Peter Broeker and Ross de St-Croix
e. George Eaton and Allen Berg

2. Between 1967 and 1983, five American drivers mounted the podium of the Grand Prix of Canada for a total of six times. Which of the five mounted it twice?
a. Mario Andretti
b. Eddie Cheever
c. Mark Donohue
d. Dan Gurney
e. Peter Revson
3. Which two drivers accompanied Gilles Villeneuve onto the podium when he took his first victory at the 1978 Grand Prix of Canada?
a. Riccardo Patrese and Didier Pironi
b. Nelson Piquet and René Arnoux
c. Patrick Tambay and James Hunt
d. Jody Scheckter and Carlos Reutemann
e. Patrick Depailler and Alan Jones
4. Michael Schumacher has mounted the podium at the Grand Prix of Canada on 11 occasions. He is followed by four drivers who have had the honor of taking a place on the podium five times each. Who are they?
a. Boutsen, Peterson, Scheckter and Senna
b. Hill, father and son, Reutemann and Watson
c. Alesi, Barrichello, Piquet and Prost
d. Fisichella, Hulme, Regazzoni and Patrese
e. Brabham, Ickx, Irvine and Mansell
5. It happened one June 27...
a. In 1911, the birth of Juan Manuel Fangio
b. In 1949, the birth of Patrick Tambay
c. In 1964. the birth of Johnny Herbert
d. In 1975, the birth of Ralf Schumacher
e. In 1985, the birth of Nico Rosberg.

Answers: 1) c; 2) e; 3) d; 4) c; 5) e – a, June 24, 1911; b, June 25, 1949; c, June 25, 1964; d, June 30, 1975.

Scenes from Portland Scenes from PortlandNew photos from the Grand Prix of Portland by Zak Hansen.
track news
Economaki to serve as Grand Marshal Economaki to serve as Grand MarshalRICHMOND, VA - Chris Economaki, the legendary motorsports journalist who was the public address announcer for Richmond International Raceway's first race nearly 60 years ago, will serve as the Grand Marshal for this weekend's SunTrust Indy Challenge Presented by XM Satellite Radio.

"I remember that race very well," said Economaki of the open wheel race won by Ted Horn on October 12, 1946. "It was quite a race. The feature race was only 20 laps-10 miles- so it was very short, but it was big stuff back then. The town would turn out for it, there would be banners across the street announcing a race at the state fair."

Economaki was the public address announcer for that race, but as Grand Marshal for the race this Saturday, June 24, he will give the drivers the command to start their engines.

As a track announcer at a number of major races in the late 1940s and 1950s, Economaki brought his own brand of infectious enthusiasm to the job. The fans loved his style. zzzz

After traveling the Northeast as a track announcer through World War II (interrupted by a stint in the U.S. Army Air Corps), Economaki took over National Speed Sport News (NSSN) in 1950, and has grown the paper to its present state -- the only weekly motorsports periodical on Library of Congress microfilm. Today, he is still the editor and publisher emeritus of the paper.

He joined ABC-TV in 1961, and pioneered the role of auto pit reporter on American television. In the 1970s, he hosted an NBC radio show on motorsports every Sunday. In 1979, he guided CBS-TV through its ground-breaking, flag-to-flag coverage of the Daytona 500. He expanded his TV career in 1984, helping ESPN launch its revolutionary motorsports coverage with a commentary role on ESPN Speedweek.

During his tenure at ABC sports, Economaki not only covered the Indianapolis 500, but the many of the world's major auto events, including the Daytona 500, Formula One and the 24 hours of LeMans.

At the age of 85, Economaki remains one of the best motorsports reporters, and still writes a weekly column, the Editor's Notebook, for NSSN. He recently published a book, Let 'Em All Go!, The Story of Auto Racing by the Man Who Was There, with Dave Argabright.

Nearly 60 years after announcing that first race in Richmond, Economaki will return to a track that has been transformed from a ½-mile dirt track with grandstand seating for a few thousand, to a sparkling, state-of-the-art, ¾-mile paved oval with a capacity of more than 107,000.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same.

"What they used to talk about were the Indy 500 drivers," Economaki said. "That was one of the promotional tools they used to get people to go to the race. The fact that local fairgrounds were going to have someone who raced at Indianapolis here on Saturday was a big thing."

Helping the promotion of the first race at Richmond International Raceway was the fact that two of the top stars of the Indianapolis 500, Horn and Joie Chitwood, were in the field, racing against three future Indianapolis 500 winners -- Bill Holland (1949), Johnnie Parsons (1950) and Lee Wallard (1951).

Today, it's no different as former Indianapolis 500 winners Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon, Buddy Lazier, Eddie Cheever, Buddy Rice and 2006 champion Sam Hornish, Jr. return to Richmond International Raceway to put on one of the most exciting races in all of motorsports. They will be joined by former series champion Tony Kanaan, as well as Danica Patrick, Dario Franchitti, Bryan Herta, Scott Sharp, Tomas Scheckter and rookie sensation Marco Andretti.

The SunTrust Indy Challenge Presented by XM Satellite Radio will run "under the lights" Saturday, June 24 at Richmond International Raceway. Saturday night's ticket includes a seat for the Richmond Times-Dispatch 100 USAC Silver Crown Championship Series race. Reserved seats are only $35 and general admission tickets are just $30. The weekend starts Friday, June 23 with WRIC-TV8 Pole Qualifying for the IndyCar Series and the USAC National Sprint Car Series race. Tickets for Friday night are only $15 and include admission to an autograph session with all IndyCar Series drivers. Children 12 and under are admitted free in general admission seating both nights with a ticketed adult. Please call 1-866-455-RACE (7223) or visit www.rir.com for tickets. RIR

TV News
Scott Speed on Wind Tunnel Sunday Scott Speed on Wind Tunnel SundayScott Speed, America’s first Formula 1 driver since 1993, will be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel this Sunday June 25th at 9 p.m. ET. In his first season in F1 driving for Red Bull’s Scuderia Toro Rosso, Speed’s best finish has been 11th…twice. The next two weekends, Speed will be back in North America where he hopes to better that performance – this Sunday in Canada and the following Sunday at Indy, where he will become the first American to race in a USGP at the famed Brickyard.

Featured Interview 2: Travis Pastrana (Motocross Racer and Free-Style Champion)
Motocross racer and free-style champion, Travis Pastrana, will also be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel this Sunday. Highly touted after winning numerous amateur motocross titles, Pastrana moved up to the professional ranks in 2000. There he won the 125cc National Championship as a rookie.

But after several injuries dampened his championship desires the following years, Pastrana focused more on free-style motocross competitions, where he has thrived. While he still races select motorcycle events, he has also taken a shot at racing cars in the Rally America National Championship for Subaru.

We’ll talk to Travis about his career, his attempted back-flip at the Daytona Supercross this year, and about his plans for the future.

This Week’s Races:
Nextel Cup on the road course in Sonoma
Busch and Truck Series in Milwaukee
F1 in Canada
IndyCar Series at the short track in Richmond
Champ Car in Cleveland
Rolex Series at Mid-Ohio
NHRA in St. Louis
World Superbike in Misano SPEEDTV.com

Rahal and Wilson Indy Pro interview Rahal and Wilson Indy Pro interviewKenn Hardley Racing held a press conference during the lunch break with rookie drivers Graham Rahal and Bobby Wilson, IndyCar Series team owner Bobby Rahal and team owner Kenn Hardley.

KENN HARDLEY (Owner, Kenn Hardley Racing): (About the team) "We're excited about the way we've continued. We had Jeff Simmons for the first three races of the year. He had a first, second, and fourth (place finishes). Bobby (Wilson) has taken over, and after what we all would probably agree was not a great performance at Indy, we went to Watkins Glen and it was a great weekend for the team, finishing first and third. The team is currently first in entrant points and Bobby is currently second in points right now. Bobby has a little room to get into first place, but we're all confident that he'll be there at the end of the year." (About bringing Graham in): "This was something that Bobby (Rahal) and I had talked about over the winter. We tried to do some testing with Jeff Simmons doing some testing for Bobby's IndyCar Series team. There was a tie early on, and we talked about running Graham in this race if it fit his schedule, and it worked out that we were able to do that, so we're excited." zzzz

BOBBY RAHAL (Co-owner of Rahal Letterman Racing, father of Graham): (About how Graham was chosen to race with Kenn Hardley Racing) "We first got in touch with each other when the rule came out in regards to the testing and getting some test days for Indy Pro Series participation in terms of rookies and testing. We couldn't take advantage of any days until half the season was over, so it really didn't make any sense. We decided to team up with Kenn because obviously he has a very good team and we were impressed with what Jeff (Simmons) was able to do with them. We didn't really have any connection per se when Jeff came in to drive the Ethanol car. Certainly my feelings towards Kenn's team haven't changed, and when Graham had the schedule that would allow him to compete and it wasn't an IRL weekend, it didn't take long before we got together and put this deal together. I'm really pleased that Norwalk Furniture stepped up and our other sponsors as well with Logicalis and Gehl. This is a great opportunity for Graham. He's with a great team, and obviously his teammate is one of the best out here. I think that both of them have a great shot at this thing." (About Graham's morning practice session, third-quick) "I think again, we're fortunate because of this team. I think you have to have a good team with a good setup and he's been given that, so he's doing a great job out there so far. We're thankful that the weather is the way it is today because of his (Graham's) schedule since this is the only chance he'll get to test before the race."

GRAHAM RAHAL (Driver, No. 42 Kenn Hardley Racing): "The last time I drove a (Indy Pro Series) car was about six months ago at Putnam Park. It was very tough for me to actually tell what the car was like. It was good to be back in the car this morning. The transition from Atlantic has been pretty easy. Certainly, it makes me feel a lot better heading into the race." (About being third-quick in the morning) "You always expect to do well, but yeah, it is surprising. I do hope to do better. I think we could have gone quicker than our time, but we were a little short on gas, so we had to come in. The car feels really good. We're going to work on it, and I think we can build. Kenn Hardley (Racing) has a lot of data from last year with Jeff (Simmons). I really think the team is working well and we're making big steps forward." (About wanting to run other events at Indianapolis) "Looking forward to the future, the 500 is something I want to do. I always have since I was a kid. My ultimate dream would be to compete here in Formula One, to be honest. I'm trying to take steps to Formula One in the near future. It's good to be here, to be honest. I drove here in Formula BMW, but there was no testing or anything. You just kind of showed up and went. It's nice to drive the track a little more. It's very enjoyable. In my opinion, it's a lot like a European track, a lot of flowing corners which is nice. It would be good to be back here." (About impressing the F1 garage) "I hope so. I want to drive in this race because it's good to drive other cars. I've driven so many things this year. It's been an awesome experience. To get out here in front of the Formula One crowd, it will be important to do well. With Kenn's team, they've given me a great car. I don't think performing well, or even winning is out of reach."

BOBBY WILSON (Driver, No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing): "I think I'm just basically working up to speed. It's a test day, just bragging rights. There's no points for being ballistic out there. Just working on the car with the engineer and working up to speed. We've been improving all day and hopefully by the end of the day we'll be in the top five or top of the chart." (About how well he knows Graham): "We have a past together, I know him pretty well from karting. It's a pleasure to have him on the team. We haven't been able to download too much data; we've been pretty busy on our own projects. It's going to be an interesting weekend." (Talk about your goals) "Definitely need to advance my position in the championship, we need a good outing here. My goal right now is to win the championship and prove myself. My goal is to move up, I just need a big break, and I definitely want to be competing in the IndyCar Series in the near future. It all starts here, short-term goals turn into long-term goals in the end. I've got to meet those and then move up." (About preferring road courses or ovals) "I'm definitely more in tune with the road courses, that's my background. There's a lot more stuff going on and I can break it down a little better. I think working with the engineers I can be a little more in-depth. I'm pretty excited to run the race here on the road course, it's a challenging facility. It has compromises on both ends (handling and speed) so it makes tuning the car more difficult." IRL

IndyPro test results from Indy IndyPro test results from IndyRaphael Matos recorded the fastest lap during an Indy Pro Series Open Test on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparations for the Liberty Challenge, which will be run in conjunction with Formula One's United States Grand Prix on July 1.

Matos made the most of an unexpected opportunity, arriving in Indianapolis two hours into the test to replace Sean Guthrie in the No. 41 Guthrie Racing car. Guthrie was examined on June 19 by Dr. Henry Bock, IRL senior director of medical services, but was not cleared to drive due to lingering complications from a head injury suffered during an Open Test at The Milwaukee Mile on June 14. Matos paced the field with a quick lap of 1 minute, 26.2657 seconds, 108.502 mph.

"I was actually surprised with the opportunity," said Matos, who won the two Indy Pro Series street races at St. Petersburg, Fla. in April. "They called me yesterday. Unfortunately Sean had a crash last week and had a concussion. I'm happy to be in the car again, and happy to be here.

"The day went pretty good. We missed probably half of the morning session, but we started the day with a pretty good baseline, and we just went from that. In the afternoon, we put a new set of stickers (tires) on it, and we tried a qualifying run, and it worked pretty good. I think we were about a half-second faster than the other guys, and I think we were the only ones to improve our lap time in the afternoon."  zzzz

Graham Rahal, the son of 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, made his Indy Pro Series debut as the youngest driver in series history (17 years, 167 days). He finished the day fifth on the time chart in the No. 42 Kenn Hardley Racing entry. His quickest lap was 1:26.8433, 107.780 mph.

"It's a great car," Rahal said. "It's been enjoyable so far. It's got a lot of power. Certainly around this track, on road courses, it feels pretty good. We certainly got a lot of work done, we're not too far off, but we've got a lot of work to do before the race. We're getting up to speed. A lot of those guys that just went quicker (just before the end of the day) like Matos and (Jay) Howard, they weren't anywhere until they put new tires on, so it feels good to be where we are."

Alex Lloyd was second-quick in the No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. (1:26.5560, 108.138 mph). Defending Indy Pro Series champion Wade Cunningham was third-quick at 1:26.7195, 107.934 mph and Jay Howard was fourth-quick (107.823 mph).

In all, nineteen drivers completed 1,191 laps on the 2.605-mile circuit.

The top speeds turned in by each driver were:

Driver Time Speed
1. Raphael Matos 1:26.2657 108.502
2. Alex Lloyd 1:26.5560 108.138
3. Wade Cunningham 1:26.7195 107.934
4. Jay Howard 1:26.8093 107.823
5. Graham Rahal 1:26.8433 107.780
6. Bobby Wilson 1:27.3030 107.213
7. Jonathan Klein 1:27.3376 107.170
8. Nick Bussell 1:27.3494 107.156
9. Mike Potekhen 1:27.7189 106.704
10. Hoover Orsi 1:27.7365 106.683
11. Chris Festa 1:27.7931 106.614
12. Jaime Camara 1:28.3413 105.953
13. Brett Van Blankers 1:28.5857 105.660
14. Jon Herb 1:28.6422 105.593
15. Scott Mansell 1:28.7705 105.440
16. Logan Gomez 1:29.0783 105.076
17. CR Crews 1:29.5712 104.498
18. Eric Paradis 1:30. 3083 103.645
19. James Chesson 1:32.8004 100.862


RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 41 Guthrie Racing, fastest): (About looking forward to race day) "You're always looking for a win. Hopefully we'll be good right out of the box on the race weekend. Team Guthrie Racing was amazing today. They did a good job putting the car together and they gave me a great opportunity to drive it and I'm pretty happy with it."

ALEX LLOYD (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., second-quick): "It was alright. We had a good morning. The second half we got a problem somewhere. We think maybe a bad shock or something. We haven't managed to do a time since lunch time, so something went wrong. But generally, the first half of the day was good. It's a shame something went wrong so we sort of lost the chance to get a really good time in. At the beginning of the day, we were comfortably quickest, so I think we'll take positives from that and see how it goes for the race."

JAY HOWARD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, fourth-quick): "We needed a test day. That's for sure. We learned a little bit more about the car today and trimmed it out a little. I'm happy with the progress we made. We're not three-and-half seconds off the pace like we were at Watkins Glen. We're just a few tenths off. I'm fairly happy. Now the guys can go look at the data and the feedback I've given them and work on getting a good setup. All my family is coming to the race, so hopefully, I can put on a good show for them."

Will Ferrell named Grand Marshal Will Ferrell named Grand MarshalColumbia Pictures' "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," is coming to the Chicagoland Speedway on Sun., July 9, 2006 (2:35 p.m. CT on TNT) as the film's star, Will Ferrell, will serve as Grand Marshal for the USG SHEETROCK 400, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. Ferrell's co-stars John C. Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan and Leslie Bibb will be Chicagoland Speedway's honorary guests.

Ferrell, who was nominated for a 2006 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in "The Producers," will declare the most famous phrase in racing, "Gentlemen, start your engines!" He'll then ride in the Grand Marshal car in front of the Pace Car, which leads the field of NASCAR drivers onto the track for the race.

Ferrell and his co-stars will be available for interviews in the infield media center on Sunday before the race.

"I am looking forward to being the Grand Marshal at this year's Chicagoland race, as it is the crown jewel of all Chicago's motorsports events," said Ferrell.  zzzz

"We're excited to have Will Ferrell as our Grand Marshal this year," said Matthew Alexander, vice president and general manager of Chicagoland Speedway. "He's a talented comedian and a masterful entertainer, so we're expecting some big laughs and a terrific response from our fans. Having one of today's hottest actors here at Chicagoland Speedway for the largest sporting event in Illinois elevates this event to another level. His popularity and mass appeal brings even more attention to the exponential growth of motorsports, both nationally and here in Chicago."

Columbia Pictures will release "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" on Friday, Aug. 4. Ferrell stars as Ricky Bobby, a stock car racing sensation whose "win at all costs" approach has made him a national hero. Bibb plays Bobby's "hot wife" Carley; Reilly plays Bobby's best friend Cal; and Duncan is Bobby's crew chief Lucius.

All Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) ever wanted to do was go fast...real fast. Columbia Pictures' comedy "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" tells the story of a dreamer who can only count to #1. After winning and losing it all, Ricky Bobby must claw his way back to the top the only way he knows how - the hard way.

Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Gary Cole and Michael Clarke Duncan star in Columbia Pictures' "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," which is directed by Adam McKay and written by Will Ferrell & Adam McKay. Jimmy Miller and Judd Apatow are the producers. David Householter, Richard Glover, Sarah Nettinga and Ryan Kavanaugh are the executive producers. The supporting cast includes Leslie Bibb, Jane Lynch, Amy Adams, Andy Richter, Molly Shannon, Greg Germann, David Koechner, Jack McBrayer and Ian Roberts.

Ferrell began a seven-year stint as a feature cast member of "Saturday Night Live" in 1995. His talent for impersonations and range of characters made him one of the most popular actors on the show. Ferrell is one of the few cast members ever to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program in 2001. He left SNL in 2002 to pursue a career in film, which includes such comedy hits as "Old School" (2003), "Elf" (2003), "Anchorman" (2004), "Wedding Crashers" (2005) and "The Producers" (2005).

Reilly, who grew up on Chicago's South side, trained at the Goodman School of Drama and eventually became a member of Chicago's renowned Steppenwolf Theatre. His film break came with a small role in the Vietnam War drama "Casualties of War" (1989), and he showed his dazzling stretch of talent in such films as "Days of Thunder" (1990), "Shadows and Fog" (1992), "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" (1993), "The River Wild" (1994), "Boogie Nights" (1997) and "Magnolia" (1999).

Another Chicago south-sider, Duncan worked digging ditches at Peoples Gas Company in Chicago after attending community college. When he quit his job and headed to Hollywood, he landed small roles while working as a bodyguard. Duncan's role in the movie "Armageddon" (1998) led to his breakthrough performance in "The Green Mile" (1999), when his "Armageddon" co-star Bruce Willis called director Frank Darabont, suggesting Michael for the part of convict John Coffey. He landed the role, receiving critical acclaim for his performance.

Virginia native Bibb had her first film role in the comedy "Private Parts" (1997), which was followed by her first television series (where she replaced the departed Susan Walters as the female lead) in the second season of "The Big Easy" (1996) on USA. Unfortunately, the show was canceled just months later. In 1999, she appeared as the lead character on the WB Network television series "Popular" (1999). The show was a success among teenagers, and led Leslie to more recognizable film roles, such as "The Skulls" (2000) and "See Spot Run" (2001). Most recently she has appeared as intern Erin Harkins in "ER" (2003).

Honeywell proud to turbocharge LeMans winning car Honeywell proud to turbocharge LeMans winning carTORRANCE, Calif. -- Honeywell (NYSE:HON) helped the Audi R10 TDI make history by besting all competition at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, recording the first-ever turbodiesel-powered victory in the world's most famous endurance event. The win follows the Audi R10 TDI win earlier this year at the 12 Hours of Sebring race in Florida, U.S.

The No. 8 Audi Sport Team Joest R10 driven by Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner won first place; third place went to another R10 driven by Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish.

Audi R10's groundbreaking win gave the manufacturer its sixth victory in the last seven years ... this time crossing the winning line with a sportscar bristling with turbodiesel technology. This victory confirmed the dominance of Audi at Le Mans and proved to the watching world that turbodiesels can compete with -- and beat -- some of the world's greatest gasoline-powered racecars. And once again, Honeywell's Garrett(R) turbochargers helped to boost Audi to racing success. zzzz

The Audi engine is a technical tour de force: a twin-turbo, direct- injection, all-aluminum V12 displacing a modest 5.5 liters. While the engine's 650 horsepower is impressive, the torque output is astronomical at 811 lb/ft.

According to Adriane Brown, President and CEO of Honeywell Transportation Systems, "Audi has demonstrated that turbodiesels offer amazing performance along with excellent fuel consumption and reliability under even the most grueling circumstances. We're proud to be associated with this unique moment in motorsports history and glad that our turbos gave Audi the boost they needed ... literally."

"The predecessor of the Audi R10 TDI, the record-setting Audi R8 with FSI gasoline direct injection, was also equipped with our Garrett(R) turbochargers. So when Audi turned to us for the TDI diesel project, we were delighted to step up to the challenge -- and the partnership has paid maximum dividends," said Doug Milliken, Motorsports Manager for Honeywell Turbo Technologies.

Honeywell International is a $30 billion diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell's shares are traded on the New York, London, Chicago and Pacific Stock Exchanges. It is one of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is also a component of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. For additional information, please visit www.honeywell.com

Lola releases first rendering of new coupe Lola releases first rendering of new coupeIn light of the rules changes announced at LeMans over the weekend Lola has released this new rendering of the proposed Lola LMP1 closed top prototype.

"We have been evaluating the coupe version of our prototype for some time now and are confident that it will be a very interesting project for existing customers and potential customers," said Julian Cooper, Lola's Head of Engineering.

"We are spending more wind tunnel time in the near future and pushing ahead with developments as we have already had a few enquiries relating to a closed top version of the existing LMP1. It is obvious that the ACO are aiming to attract more manufacturers to LeMans in the future and we will be ready to offer a package that has been exhaustively tested and developed."

Finlay and Valiante hope testing pays off Finlay and Valiante hope testing pays offWith six races remaining in the Grand American Rolex Series season, the drivers of the No.5 Make-A-Wish/Z-Line Designs Ford-powered Daytona Prototype know the importance of finishing races. “Every point counts from here on out,” explained Rob Finlay, driver of the No.5 Finlay Motorsports entry.  “We’re currently sitting fifth in the team point standings and plan on staying within the top-5.  In order to do so, Michael Valiante and I know that we’ll have to run good, clean races and finish well within the top-10.  We spent a couple days in May testing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and feel that we have a pretty good handle on the cars set-up for this weekend’s EMCO Gears Classic.” The Mooresville, NC – based team packed up the team’s Ford vans and headed north for a two-day test May 23 – 24 on the beautiful 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. “We have found a few gremlins in our car that have been plaguing us for a number of races,” said Finlay’s teammate Michael Valiante.   “The test went really well and my teammate, Rob was fast so we should be towards the front of the field come race day.” The Daytona Prototypes are slated to participate in an open test on Thursday, June 22 with practice and qualifying for the weekend’s 250-mile/ 111-laps/ 2 ¾ -hour contest beginning on Friday, June 23.   The EMCO Gears Classic kicks off on Saturday, June 24 at 5:30 p.m. and will be televised on Speed June 25th at 3:00 p.m. ET
Q and A with AJ Allmendinger Q and A with AJ AllmendingerThe newest winner of a Champ Car race, AJ Allmendinger, was a guest today on Champ Car's media teleconference where the young American talked about his first win, and the new love in his life. Transcript.
The black art of F1 tire technology The black art of F1 tire technologyAfter a year of abstinence in Formula 1, when a set of tires had to last for both qualifying and the race and a change was only permitted in an emergency, drivers can now make the most of their tires’ performance again. In 2006, Formula 1 tires are still a crucial factor in deciding between victory and defeat; performing with magical prowess while subjected to extreme loads.

By returning to the old tire regulations – and so more frequent pit stops – Formula 1 has not only become more interesting but also safer. Now, the drivers are no longer tempted to continue driving on worn or damaged tires and, in the worst-case scenario, risking an accident simply to avoid losing time with an unscheduled tire change. But the new regulation is not carte blanche for the drivers. “It’s true that we can drive a bit more aggressively again,” says Mark Webber, WilliamsF1 driver, “but of course we still have to make sure that we last the distance with the tires.”

The first thing the teams must sort out – before worrying about race strategy – is their tires. Given the range that is permitted by the tire clauses in the Formula 1 regulations, they are really spoiled for choice. For a grand prix weekend, no less than seven sets of dry weather tires are available for the drivers, plus four sets of wet weather tires and three sets of so-called monsoon tires, which guarantee the necessary safety, even if the track is waterlogged by a sudden downpour. The WilliamsF1 tire partner, Bridgestone, will produce about 60,000 tires for its teams this year, and brings 1,200 tires to the track for every grand prix. zzzz

Choosing the right tires is an art in itself. Picking the wrong type can ruin a driver’s chances completely. During free practice on the Friday prior to the race, they have to find out which tire compound is required on a particular track, and which best suits the car and the planned strategy. They then have to decide before qualifying, which compound they will use for the rest of the grand prix weekend.

As a normal car driver, too, it is easy to be overwhelmed when buying tires. “You should certainly consult a specialist dealer and observe a few basic rules,” recommends Dr. Christoph Lauterwasser from the Allianz Centre for Technology (AZT). First of all, you should comply with the specifications regarding the speed category, the size and the load index. You should also pay attention to the DOT code, which shows the production date of the tire. “If you try to save money on tires, you’re cutting corners in the wrong place. One should also always avoid a combination of summer and winter tires. A mixture of tires like that can lead to uncontrollable handling,” adds Lauterwasser.

In contrast to everyday traffic, the tires in Formula 1 are subjected to extreme pressure. The cars accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 2.6 seconds. The rear tires have to give the 700HP car enough grip on the tarmac to ensure the wheels do not spin when accelerating. The front tires, on the other hand, do all the hard work during braking. Statistically, given full braking from 200km/h, a Formula 1 car comes to rest within 55 meters, and the resulting braking forces apply a staggering 2.5 tones to the tires in a longitudinal direction. The load is even higher in corners, where the tires have to withstand lateral acceleration forces equivalent to about 2.2 tones with centrifugal forces of up to 3.2G. Even when driving in a straight line, unbelievable forces are applied to the tires by the downforce generated by the wings. When the drivers are racing at 320km/h, the wings press the car down with a load of 1.6 tones at the rear and 1.1 tones at the front. The downforce from the wings is so great that, in theory, a Formula 1 car, with a medium wing setting could drive upside down on the ceiling at a speed above just 150km/h.

The rubber compound of a Formula 1 tire works optimally in a range from 70 to 95°C. If the tires are cooler, they cannot develop enough grip and if they become hotter, they wear out too quickly. In the worst-case scenario, they develop blisters, which could lead to the tire bursting. To prevent that, the tires –consisting of about 80 types of rubber and 250 other additives such as oils, steel, sulphur, zinc, polyester, resin and silicic acid – are subjected to strict quality checks at the factory.

It was also a novelty in Formula 1 history when a tire manufacturer advised that its teams during the United States Grand Prix in 2005, to withdrew from the start for safety reasons at the. With just six cars, the race was disappointing for viewers in sporting terms, but also proof that the motto “safety first” stands above all other interests in Formula 1.

Allianz Safety Check: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - by Mark Webber, WilliamsF1 driver:

“There is a lack of harmony at this track. The extremely long straight and the windy infield do not fit together very well. We drive at full throttle for almost 25 seconds on the banked corner, and the fact that on the left there is a concrete wall instead of a run-off zone does not exactly give you a reassuring feeling. In my opinion, you definitely need gravel traps at some points, which are missing. One important safety factor is the so-called soft walls, which absorb part of the energy in the case of an impact and so minimise the risk of injuries.” Allianz

Q and A with Gordon and Gilliland Q and A with Gordon and GillilandSee the complete transcript from Robby Gordon and David Gilliland from today's NASCAR Teleconference. Transcript
NASCAR Announces Timeline for Unleaded Fuel NASCAR Announces Timeline for Unleaded FuelNASCAR announced today a timeline to phase unleaded fuel into its three national series beginning next month. The unleaded fuel will first be used for the NASCAR Busch Series race at Gateway International Raceway on July 29.  The plan is to evaluate the use of unleaded fuel over several NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events this season before making a decision on when it will be mandated for all three national series.

Unleaded fuel will be used for four weeks before undergoing an evaluation period. After the race weekend at Gateway, the fuel will be used at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis on Aug. 4 and 5 for the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series; at Watkins Glen for the NASCAR Busch Series and Nashville Superspeedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Aug. 12; and at Michigan International Speedway for the NASCAR Busch Series on Aug. 19.

Following those events, competitors will return to their regular fuel for four weeks while NASCAR, Sunoco and team engine builders evaluate the effects of the new fuel. On Sept. 23 the NASCAR Busch Series (Dover International Speedway) and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) will resume using unleaded fuel for the remainder of the season.

In addition, NASCAR, Sunoco and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series engine builders plan to work with the ARCA Re/Max Series at Talladega Superspeedway to study the use of unleaded fuel in engines with restrictor plates.

Following the season, a decision will be made on the future of unleaded fuel. NASCAR had previously announced a switch to unleaded fuel by 2008. The current goal is to have all three national series using unleaded fuel fulltime by Speedweeks of 2007.

'New' Aguri is still old Arrows 'New' Aguri is still old Arrows(GMM)  Super Aguri's 'new' car will still be based on the monocoque and chassis of defunct Arrows' 2002 model.

With the SA06's long-awaited debut likely to occur at Magny Cours next month, the fledgling Japanese team's technical chief admitted that the focus has been on improving the lagging aerodynamics.

''It was better to spend the money on aerodynamics than on a new monocoque,'' Australian Mark Preston - to stay at Leafield during F1's North American tour as the car's debut looms - told Motorsport Aktuell.

The new car will also be significantly lighter than the uncompetitive SA05, with Preston admitting that Franck Montagny has been at a disadvantage alongside Takuma Sato because the latter Japanese weighs less.

He said: ''With the new car we want to save twenty kilograms so that we can use more ballast in the set-up.''

At the Leafield HQ, the new racer's final bodywork pieces are being manufactured this week and actual assembly can then begin.

''The new car will make us immediately three seconds faster,'' said team principal Aguri Suzuki.  ''Then we can attack Midland and Toro Rosso.''

Ralf rules out Toyota win Ralf rules out Toyota win(GMM)  Ralf Schumacher has warned fans to not expect to see him on the top step of the podium for some time.

The German, who has not won a race since switching from Williams at the end of 2004, admitted that the Toyota team is not yet knocking on the door of victory.

''With a little luck we can beat the second drivers of the top teams,'' 30-year-old Ralf told Kicker magazine.

Cologne-based Toyota has struggled with its switch to Bridgestone rubber this year, and a recently introduced 'B' car was not a silver bullet.

Schumacher explained: ''Before the end of this season we don't need to be thinking about wins.''

He said another part of the problem is a straight-line deficit, but suggested that the problem is not lagging power but imperfect aero.

''We are missing seven to ten kph of top speed,'' Ralf revealed, ''so I believe the chicanes of Montreal will suit us better than Indianapolis.''

Champ Car and NASCAR to meet today over Phoenix conflict Champ Car and NASCAR to meet today over Phoenix conflictA Phoenix Champ Car event could create an opportunity for NASCAR to cross-market its own races. Jensen and Yonover plan to stage the race amid a three-day street festival that they say would be full of marketing opportunities.

Johnson dismissed PIR concerns that Champ Car would harm the November NASCAR race.

"You're not going to see NASCAR pull its second race out of Phoenix," he said. "They own the track, so why would they stick it to themselves?"

PIR is owned by International Speedway Corp., whose controlling officers include members of the France family, owners of NASCAR.

The accelerating war of words between the two camps got so thick that Champ Car's attorney wrote to NASCAR attorneys last month, demanding that NASCAR officials, as well as representatives of the firm that owns PIR, "immediately cease their anti-competitive conduct and intentional efforts to interfere with Champ Car's contractual and business relationships in Phoenix."

A NASCAR attorney responded with a letter saying the racing organization has no intention of interfering with Champ Car's plans in Phoenix or in any other market. In fact, attorney Stuart Singer wrote, NASCAR believes that a broad "product list" of racing events boosts the fortunes of motor sports overall.

The hints of legal action appear to have calmed some of the tensions, but whether the two sides will find a common ground and cease hostilities is unclear.

In a meeting last week brokered by House Speaker Jim Weiers, the groups agreed to look for a compromise.

The discussion appears to center around moving the date of the Champ Car race by a week or so, to distance it from the NASCAR race held at PIR in early November.

"That could be a win-win," said Jason Rose, a consultant who is working for Sperber.

Marketing conflicts

The Avondale track is worried that having a Grand Prix-style race on downtown Phoenix streets could imperil the second NASCAR race it won in 2004.

For example, Champ Car advertising and marketing will be on the streets well in advance of the planned mid-November 2007 race, Rose said. That could conflict with NASCAR marketing.

And race preparations downtown could create a messy scene for NASCAR patrons, who turn to downtown for lodging, dining or entertainment.

"The week of the event, you have the largest downtown in the state erecting 2,200 barricades and scaffolding," Rose said. "That's a nice welcome mat."

Johnson said the Champ Car representatives are open to ideas. But given other Champ Car races on the circuit, there's little wiggle room in the mid-November schedule proposed for the Phoenix race.

"It only leaves November to do it," he said. "We want to end our season here (Phoenix) and possibly have our banquet here."

There's also talk of NASCAR using its influence to help the Champ Car race line up television coverage for a potentially pushed-back date.

The parties are meeting Tuesday. zzzz

Sharing a fan base

PIR's campaign probably represents an effort to nail down a fan base, even though NASCAR and Champ Car racing have fairly different audiences, said David Carter, executive director of the Sports Business Institute at the University of Southern California.

"They might not want to open up that corner of the market," Carter said. "If you're trying to convert casual fans to hard-core racing fans, you prefer that they get hooked on your sport."

However, since NASCAR has been "notoriously successful" in appealing to fans and sponsors, they have little to fear from the Champ Car series.

"No one believes Champ Car will outperform them," Carter said.

Meanwhile, Phoenix officials are studying the Champ Car request, and PIR officials are working on a special-events application that they have pulled from City Hall. They're thinking of hosting a street festival around NASCAR's "victory lane" concept. The proposed date? November 2007, according to Rose. More at Arizona Republic

Eye operation for Schu tire man Eye operation for Schu tire manMichael Schumacher will be without his Bridgestone tire technician Kees van der Grint for the next two races. The Dutchman had a recent eye operation and will not fly to the North American races in Canada and the USA.
Enter NASCAR tailgating contest Enter NASCAR tailgating contestNEW YORK /PRNewswire/ -- Throughout the summer, avid tailgaters have the chance to enter The Tailgate of a Lifetime Tailgating Championship.  Five finalists, vying for the title of "America's Ultimate Tailgater" and a $10,000 grand prize will be given the opportunity to create over-the-top NASCAR-themed tailgate parties complete with unique set-ups, gourmet versions of quintessential tailgate fare and spectacular, colorful decorations that honor the celebrity drivers they support.  The official chef of NASCAR, Mario Batali, will be on hand to judge the contest along with NASCAR legend, Ernie Irvan and Richard Hendrickson, president of Lifetime Products, Inc.

Tailgaters who think they have what it takes to stand out amid millions of dedicated NASCAR tailgaters have until Wednesday, July 26, 2006 to enter the contest and will be asked to submit a compilation of tailgating tips, an original recipe and an explanation of what makes their tailgates unique. For full entry requirements and contest rules, visit tailgateofalifetime.com. zzzz

"NASCAR tailgaters have raised the bar.  Cold cuts and plastic tablecloths don't cut it anymore," said Batali, author of Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style (Sporting News 2006).  "Real NASCAR tailgating is about big food, big decorations and big fun."

This spirit will be brought to life on a grand scale during The Tailgate of a Lifetime Tailgating Championship on Saturday, August 19.  The five finalists will go head-to-head, creating their ultimate tailgate parties on Michigan International Speedway's Fan Plaza.  In addition to the title and cash prize, the champion will go home with an ultimate tailgating prize pack from Lifetime Products, the world's leading manufacturer of folding tables and chairs -- two must-haves for great tailgate set-ups.  The five finalists will each be provided an all-expense paid vacation package for themselves and a guest to Michigan International Speedway to compete in the championship.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Villeneuve to release debut single
Trulli defends refusal to strip Schu
Group opposes Mansell's race track plans
Bernie pessimistic as future of US GP looms
Montagny 'sad' at Yamamoto arrival
Another Indy fiasco unlikely - Trulli
Nakamoto named Honda Technical Director Nakamoto named Honda Technical DirectorShuhei Nakamoto, formerly Engineering Director for Honda Racing Development, has been appointed Senior Technical Director of the Honda Racing F1 Team.

Nakamoto has been a key part of Honda's third generation of F1 involvement for the past six years and has also been a member of the Honda Racing F1 Team management board since Honda acquired full ownership of the team in December 2005.  Prior to that he enjoyed a highly successful 17 year career in motorbike competition with Honda as Project Leader for its championship-winning 250cc WGP Motorcycle, 750cc and 1000cc superbike race machines.

Discussions are currently taking place with Geoff Willis, Technical Director, regarding his future role with the team.

2006 saw Honda's return to Formula One works team status for the first time since 1968, pledging a single-minded determination to repeat the successes of its first two generations of F1 involvement.  The first eight races of the season have proved a tough challenge but the Team has made a long-term commitment including investments such as its brand new state-of-the-art wind tunnel and the commissioning of its new machine shop. zzzz

Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer of the Honda Racing F1 Team, commented:  "Honda has set itself some very tough targets for its Formula One team and made a considerable investment in order to achieve them, so we have to ensure that we do everything necessary to pursue those objectives.  Shuhei Nakamoto has an excellent record of achievement with Honda and we have confidence that his appointment, together with our investments at the Brackley HQ, will help us towards our goal."

Career History


Nationality: Japanese
Date of Birth: 29 April 1957
Place of Birth: Tottori, Japan
Lives: Maidenhead, England
Marital Status: Married
Hobbies: Sports

June 2006 Appointed Senior Technical Director, Honda Racing F1
2006 Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development Ltd
2005 Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development Ltd
2004 Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development Ltd
2003 Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development Ltd
2002 Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development Ltd
2000 Large Project Leader, VTR1000 Superbike Machine Honda R&D
1997 Large Project Leader, RVF750 Superbike Machine
1992 Large Project Leader, RS125 Production Race Machine, Large Project Leader, NSR 250 WGP Motorcycle
1990 Large Project Leader, RS125 Production Race Machine
1988 Large Project Leader, RS250 Production Race Machine
1984 Project Leader, Chassis Design RS125, RS250 Production Race Machine
1983 Joined Honda Racing Corporation

Toyota gets booed at NASCAR race Toyota gets booed at NASCAR raceIt's traditional for the public-address announcer at racetracks to ask the crowd which brand of car they support, usually eliciting a loud cheer for each.
Because Michigan International Speedway is close to the heart of America's car industry, it was no surprise when boos echoed around the track Saturday after the PA announcer asked who in the crowd thought that a Toyota would win the Truck race.

But, according to Lee White, a Toyota Racing Development senior vice president, the Toyota Camrys that will run in the Cup and Busch series for the first time next season will be more American than the Ford Fusions, Chevrolet Monte Carlos and Dodge Chargers they will compete against.

White pointed out that all of the Camrys sold in America next year will be built in this country, while the Monte Carlos and Chargers are built in Canada. Winston Salem Journal
A lap of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with Raikkonen A lap of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with RaikkonenAhead of the Canadian Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen takes us for a lap around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

You reach 297km/h in fifth gear along the short pit straight, before braking hard for the left-right weave of turns one and two. Located just before the pit lane exit, turn one is taken at 133km/h in second gear, and is immediately followed by the Coin Senna.

"This right-hand hairpin is negotiated at 71Km/h in first gear. You push hard on the throttle as you exit the Coin Senna for the short straight that leads to the chicane of turns three and four.

"You drop from 258km/h in fourth to negotiate the right-left flick at 148km/h in second. Exiting turn four, you sweep flat out through the long right-hand curve of turn five, reaching 258km/h in fifth before once again braking hard for the left-right flick of turns six and seven. zzzz

"The first left-hander is taken at 90km/h in second with your speed increasing to some 142km/h in second for the right of turn seven. Full on the throttle on the exit as you power along the Place de la Concorde, achieving speeds of up to 298km/h in seventh gear, before dropping back through the gears for the right-left sequence of turns eight and nine.

"Entering the bumpy braking zone under the bridge for turn eight, your speed decreases to 113km/h in second gear. The slightly faster turn nine follows and this can be taken at 155km/h, still in second gear. Exiting turn nine, you blast along the sweeping straight that leads to the L'Epingle hairpin.

"Having reached speeds of 299km/h in fifth gear, you brake hard for the 180-degrees right hander, which swings you round onto the Droit du Casino. Accelerating along the main straight, you reach 334km/h in sixth gear as you approach the hardest braking point on the track. You pull 2.5G as you brake sharply to negotiate the final two corners that take you back to the start-finish straight.

"The right-left complex of bends is negotiated at 144km/h in second gear and you have to be careful not to jump the curbs too aggressively."

Senator against Champ Car race does U-Turn Senator against Champ Car race does U-TurnUPDATE #3 Our inside sources in Phoenix tell us that the feeling among many Senators is that Phoenix as the 5th largest city in the United States and, therefore, is big enough for more than one racing venue.  Some Senators are saying that the State Legislature will probably not interfere with Phoenix’s intent to bring a new race to Arizona.  Mark C.

06/18/06 In reference to Blendu's statement below that he is no longer opposed to a Champ Car race in Phoenix and that he does not care if they race frogs on the city streets, all 18 cars in today’s Champ Car race will be running special “frog” decals.

06/12/06 In this AutoWeek article NASCAR/ISC and everyone else who came out in strong opposition to the proposed Champ Car race on the city streets of Phoenix are now backpedaling and denying they are against it. 

NASCAR insists it has nothing to do with efforts to kill a proposed Champ Car World Series street race in downtown Phoenix.  In a letter to Champ Car officials, the stock car racing series claims “...neither NASCAR nor any of its representatives has taken a position on the proposed Champ Car race in Phoenix or participated in any conduct that would impede Champ Car’s ability to run such an event.”

Further, the letter notes Bryan Sperber, whom Champ Car claims is leading efforts to kill the street race, “...is not employed by, nor... affiliated with NASCAR.”

Of course Sperber does run nearby Phoenix International Raceway, which is owned by International Speedway Corp. And ISC is controlled by the France family, which also owns NASCAR...

Whether they were hired by NASCAR, ISC or someone else, a cadre of lobbyists have failed in their efforts to get a bill rammed through the Arizona state legislature that would have banned street races in Phoenix or anywhere else in the state. The legislation was tabled late last week, and there are no immediate plans to resurrect it.

06/10/06 If you see a pair of fresh skid marks at the state Capitol, there's a good chance they were laid down by state Sen. Robert Blendu as he did a sharp U-turn on his position on a proposed Champ Car Grand Prix street race in downtown Phoenix.

The squeal of brakes came after Blendu, R-Litchfield Park, authored an opinion piece in The Arizona Republic on Thursday in which he described the proposed November event as "revisiting a failed street-race concept."

That was a reference to Phoenix's experiment with Grand Prix racing in the 1990s, an experiment that crashed head-on into a wall of public indifference and complaints about noise. advertisement 
But that same day, Blendu took to the Senate floor to tell his colleagues that, as the senator from the district that represents the NASCAR venue at Phoenix International Raceway, he no longer sees a problem with a downtown Phoenix race. (A bill that would limit race-car events to established tracks had been introduced to protect PIR's position and block the Champ Car race, but it has been put on hold.)

He said he had been fed "rhetoric" about how the downtown race would cut into the market base of NASCAR and now wanted to support the entrepreneurial effort of Dale Jensen, a partner in the Arizona Grand Prix.

Blendu said he was particularly heartened to learn that the race promoters were putting $300 million in private money into downtown Phoenix, a sign, perhaps, that years of public investment are finally paying off.

"As far as I'm concerned, I don't care if he wants to race frogs," Blendu said of Jensen. Arizona Republic

SPEED to offer extensive USGP coverage SPEED to offer extensive USGP coverageSPEED will provide an unprecedented level of LIVE, highlighted, interactive and on demand Formula One coverage of this year’s United States Grand Prix from historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

LIVE on-track network coverage begins June 30 with the first practice session at 11 am, E.T., and concludes July 2 with the seventh running of the USGP beginning at 12:30 p.m., E.T. Bob Varsha, the voice of Formula One on SPEED, will handle play-by-play duties, while veteran open wheel analysts David Hobbs and Steve Matchett will provide color commentary. The venerable Peter Windsor will continue his insights from pit road, while former driver Sam Posey offers historical context on Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Formula One in the United States.

The United States Grand Prix on SPEED only starts from there.

SPEED, which has carried Formula One motor racing in the United States for 10 years, will offer the world’s first interactive broadband Formula One viewing experience through its SPEED on Board Pass platform. U.S. race fans will be able to log onto SPEEDtv.com, click the ‘SPEED on Board Pass’ icon and for $14.99, be able to toggle between five unique, LIVE on-board camera feeds featuring every car on the grid. A sixth camera will be fixed in a high-action location as well. zzzz

“SPEED is honored to be the first television network in the world to bring an interactive broadband viewing experience to U.S. Formula One fans,” said Kevin Annison, VP of Business Development. “If there ever was an event you wanted to ride along with, this is it! Whenever fans tune to LIVE United States Grand Prix coverage on SPEED, they have an opportunity to enjoy the ultimate two-screen experience. There is nothing like the sound of a Formula One car at 19,000 rpm, revving at each split-second gear change and coupled with the pure visual excitement of high speed precision driving. This is the perfect venue for this type of interactivity.”

SPEED, in concert with Michelin Tire and Bridgestone Tire, will also bring viewers a USGP Pre-Race Special July 1 at 8 p.m., E.T. The SPEED on-air crew will have the rare chance to speak directly with Formula One drivers, while hosting one-on-one interactions with race fans.

“For the first time, SPEED will be bringing you a two-hour pre-race show on Saturday night,” said Rick Miner, SPEED SVP of Programming/Production. “The interviews and insights will be gathered throughout the day on Thursday (June 29), during the Formula One Fan Pit Walk, hosted by Indianapolis Motor Speedway. SPEED will have an opportunity to speak with Formula One drivers, hosting the many press conferences that will occur throughout the day. SPEED also will be offering fans a public discussion forum on Thursday regarding the USGP and Formula One racing in general.”

USGP broadcast schedule on SPEED (all times Eastern);

Friday, June 30
11:00 a.m. *USGP Practice (LIVE)
7:30 p.m. USGP Practice (Replay)

Saturday, July 1
10:00 a.m. *USGP Practice (LIVE)
1:00 p.m. *USGP Qualifying (LIVE)
8:00 p.m. USGP Pre-Race Special (Highlighted Coverage)
12:00 a.m. USGP Pre-Race Special (Replay)

Sunday, July 2
3:00 a.m. USGP Qualifying (Replay)
12:30 p.m. *United States Grand Prix (LIVE)
11:00 p.m. United States Grand Prix (Replay)

*Denotes SPEED on Board Pass Availability

Also for the first time, SPEEDtv.com will provide an archived version of the United States Grand Prix to U.S. fans for $3.99 at the SPEED on Demand Web portal. One day after the race is complete, fans will be able to visit SPEEDtv.com, click onto ‘SPEED on Demand’ and stream the race in its entirety - whenever they wish. The stream will be available for 90 days.

Ganassi quotes from NASCAR Raceday Ganassi quotes from NASCAR RacedayWendy Venturini, who provides the inside scoop for NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED, interviewed Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates owner Chip Ganassi, and evoked some rather candid comments after his team’s current Nextel Cup Series driver Casey Mears (No. 42) opted to switch teams and join the No. 25 Hendrick Motorsports entry for 2007.

Ganassi, who has been extremely successful in his other auto racing ventures, including open wheel and Grand Am Rolex Series competition, hopes to become as successful in NASCAR. The following are highlights from Venturini’s NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED interview just prior to the Nextel Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway: zzzz

Venturini:  …Casey Mears has officially signed with Hendrick Motorsports, with a multi-year contract to drive the No. 25. So, we decided it would be good to talk to you, Chip Ganassi. 

Venturini:  Alright Chip, let’s start off with the hottest topic right now. Casey Mears announced he is not going to re-sign (with Chip Ganassi Racing). Did it come as a surprise or was it in the works for a while?

Ganassi:  Well, I think (it was) a little bit of a surprise. I mean, we have been talking to Casey…and we thought we were close, and he said we were close and said he wanted to do a deal with us. You know, things happen…things change. I guess deep down - I was a driver at one time - I understand a little bit (about) that part of the business. 

Venturini:  That is what I was going to say. We did a feature with Casey earlier in the year and (he) stated he wanted to stay,

(Excerpt from a previous NASCAR RaceDay interview with Mears…)

Mears: …I know Chip and everybody has expressed they would like to continue on, and you know I have expressed the same.

Venturini:  And a few weeks ago at a test session he was quoted, ‘This is the place I want to stay.’ What changed?

Ganassi:  You know…just an opportunity came up I don’t think anybody thought was going to be coming, or maybe just a very few people knew about.

Venturini: …I read a quote from you this week saying, ‘Now I probably would rather drive for Hendrick, than for our own team right now.’ What did you mean by that?  What are you going to do to rebound?  

Ganassi:  Yeah…first of all, let’s face the fact. The face of the matter is when you look at the performance level - this business is about performance. When you look at the performance level of Hendrick Motorsports and compare it to Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, you can say there is a clear distinction. We’re not there yet.  Now, in other forms of racing, our teams are very competitive. We’re just not there in NASCAR yet. We have a successful business in other forms, and we’re growing this business, putting in some of the same policies and procedures and ways of doing business we (have in) other places. We’re just not there yet. It’s that simple. Are we going to get there? The answer is - yes. 

Venturini:  Are you happy with the performances you’ve had on the Cup side this year?

Ganassi:  Absolutely not. I mean, we should be better, and you know…we continue to build, we continue to improve. As long as we (are) improving, I’ll be okay. 

Venturini:  You seem to have some bad luck keeping drivers, last year with Jamie McMurray, and now with Casey. Why is this happening and how does it affect the team morale in the organization?

Ganassi: It is a part of the business, Wendy. For them to go to a Roush or a Hendrick from us, I was a driver once, and opportunities like that don’t come around everyday for a driver. They want to test themselves against the best and there is no better way to do that, than to get with teams that are winning races. So, I applaud them for that. Having said that, sure, I am disappointed…I’m disappointed we have had two good drivers leave us. Am I devastated? No.

Venturini:  Do you have your eyes set on a replacement for Casey? What are some of the possibilities?

Ganassi:  We are kind of taking our time right now, but having said that, we might sign somebody tomorrow. 

Venturini:  What is it going to take to get drivers to leave other teams come to Chip Ganassi Racing?

Ganassi:   Well, I think it is pretty simple. We have to show we can win races.  We have to raise our level of performance. At the end of the day, this business is about performance - end of story. If you don’t have it, (no one) is going to want to be here; no drivers, no crew chiefs, no engineers, no mechanics, no sponsors and we have to change that.

Ironically, the team did come together this past weekend at MIS, as Ganassi Racing rookie driver Reed Sorenson piloted his No. 42 entry to a career best fifth-place finish. Mears also had one of his strongest outings of the season, grabbing seventh in the rain-shortened contest.

Bill Elliott to test at Milwaukee Mile Bill Elliott to test at Milwaukee MileThis week, Bill Elliott is testing the No. 00 Burger King NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series entry at the Milwaukee Mile and Kentucky Speedway in preparation for the five races he will compete in this season for Michael Waltrip Racing. 

“Today, we were just shaking down the Burger King car at the Milwaukee Mile so that we can be well prepared for the race at Loudon (New Hampshire International Speedway) in a few weeks,” Elliott stated. “We’ll be at Kentucky Speedway tomorrow to work on the car for our first race of the season at Chicagoland Speedway. We’ll test at the track for two days. I think Chicagoland will be one of the most challenging tracks for us.”

As Elliott helps Michael Waltrip Racing continue to lay groundwork for 2007, Michael Waltrip prepares for his role as a team owner and driver of the No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry. In addition to the relationship with NAPA, Michael Waltrip Racing announced a partnership with Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) and Burger King Corporation (BKC) to be co-primary sponsors of their second 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team. zzzz

“We announced our second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team yesterday at Michigan International Speedway,” Michael Waltrip said, who will be on site at Kentucky Speedway during the test session this Wednesday as team owner. “It is not often that you see two companies within the same industry come together for primary sponsorship at this level. We’re happy Burger King signed on with us for five races this year too. We’re testing this week to build for our future and we’ve got a great driver that will help us advance our program. As a driver, I know what it takes to win and it is fun to be able to watch from a team owner’s perspective.”

“The five races that Bill will run will help us put the pieces of the puzzle together for all of our NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series entries next season,” Crew Chief Larry Carter added. “We’re close to being ready for our first race at Chicagoland Speedway. Our test today went well. We are plugging away at making the car rotate better because it was tight today. Overall, the car is really sound and we are pleased with our progress.”

The first race for Bill Elliott and the No. 00 Burger King Michael Waltrip Racing team will take place on July 9th at Chicagoland Speedway. Live coverage of the USG Sheetrock 400 begins at 3 p.m. Eastern on TNT and will be broadcast by MRN Radio.

No Fear enters 4 Nextel Cup races No Fear enters 4 Nextel Cup racesConcord, NC - No Fear Inc., the Carlsbad, California-based action sports lifestyle brand, will contest a four race schedule in the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. To be named “No Fear Racing,” the team will be owned and operated by Mark Simo, Frank Stoddard and Boris Said. No Fear Racing will be based out of the company’s new east coast corporate headquarters in Concord, N.C. Located adjacent to the Roush Racing campus, the new team will receive technical support, motors and cars from Roush Racing.

Sponsorship will come in the form of No Fear’s highly successful energy drink, SoBe No Fear.

Driving the No. 60 No Fear Ford Fusion throughout the four race schedule will be NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Grand National veteran driver Boris Said.

No Fear Racing will debut at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway the weekend of June 24-25. Six days later, No Fear Racing will compete in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. On August 6, the No Fear Ford Fusion will race in the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard, and a week later, at the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen. zzzz

The four race schedule this summer marks the continuing evolution of No Fear’s 20-year history of motorsports activity. Initially involved in motocross during the mid-to-late 1980s, No Fear then moved into four wheel racing where the company won multiple championships in SCCA, IMSA and Trans-Am racing, as well as a number of Late Model stock car titles. In 1995 the company then decided to field a team in the inaugural season of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, winning races and placing second overall. Continuing on in the Craftsman Truck Series through 1998, No Fear then entered a team in the Winston Cup Series in 1999 and 2000.

After taking the last six years to regroup, No Fear is now poised to return to NASCAR’s premier series. “We believe that the NASCAR Nextel Cup series provides a highly visible platform to promote our widely distributed energy drink and to highlight our racing heritage for our core No Fear brand,” says Mark Simo, No Fear founder and CEO. “The Nextel Cup Series provides us with the opportunity to showcase our authentic heritage in motor racing, to promote our drink to true racing enthusiasts, as well as to promote NASCAR, Roush Racing and Ford.”

“I’ve been making the switch from road racing to full-time NASCAR Nextel Cup,” offers Said. “I raced with MB2 last season and I really appreciate the opportunity they gave me last year. It is a great team and organization. However, this year, with my affiliation with Roush Racing and working with their young drivers on their road racing skills, Jack offered us the chance to purchase cars and engines and more importantly, technical support. So now, after all the years of teaching people on the road courses, I finally feel like I’m getting paid back by receiving and using the resources of Roush Racing.

Camara gets taste of IndyCar Series machine Camara gets taste of IndyCar Series machineJaime Camara learned a few things during a testing session at the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway on June 16. So did Andretti Green Racing principals.

Camara completed 90 laps in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone - his first testing in an IndyCar Series car. The session was a result of the Indy Racing League's new testing program that allows IndyCar Series teams that field full-time entries in the Indy Pro Series to earn a bonus test for their IndyCar Series program after every four races (up to six extra test days for a two-car effort).

"The test went really well," said Camara, driver of the No. 11 CELG car in the Indy Pro Series. "I didn't know exactly what to expect when I got in the car because an IndyCar has a lot more downforce, grip and power than I'm used to. You feel a lot more G forces in the car at a place like Nashville because I have to lift in my (Pro Series) car, but there was no lifting in the IndyCar."  zzzz

Andretti Green Racing president Kim Green believes that the Indy Racing League's new testing policy is beneficial to the development of Indy Pro Series drivers.

"This is a great opportunity for a young driver like Jaime, who has shown a lot of potential in the Indy Pro Series," Green said. "It's also important for AGR to help develop young drivers, which is something we always have an interest in."

Camara shared seat time with 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan, who set up the car for a smooth transition.

"I was able to tell Tony what I was feeling in the car and then he would tell the engineers what he thought we should do to the car to make it better for me," Camara said. "It was great to have him there to help me."

From the first lap, it was evident that Camara was comfortable in the car. The Brazilian turned laps within two-tenths of a second of Kanaan's quickest time in the test. Camara hopes the test will lead to a full-time ride in the IndyCar Series in the near future.

"An IndyCar ride is not easy to find, but I'm going to try to find one for 2007," Camara said. "This test was a big step in my career and I think I showed the team that I can do a good job in an IndyCar." IRL

Update on injured MotoGP riders Update on injured MotoGP ridersThe latest updates on the condition of Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau following yesterday's horrific first corner crash at the Circuit de Catalunya have brought a sigh of relief to the MotoGP world. Luckily the consequences are not as serious as first thought, but they will have a partial effect on the Ducati MotoGP Team's participation in the Dutch TT race on Saturday.

Capirossi will take part in the next round of the MotoGP World Championship, while Gibernau will still be recovering following an operation to his collarbone. Loris left Catalunya General Hospital in Barcelona today after remaining overnight for observation and has returned to Monte Carlo. Medical checks confirmed that the Italian rider can take part in the next round of the championship.

Sete Gibernau's condition is more complicated. The Spanish rider today underwent a further brain scan to rule out any possible complications for the operation to fix the minor fracture to his left collarbone, scheduled for late tomorrow morning. Surgeons will replace a plate inserted following an earlier accident with a larger plate. Only after this operation will it be possible to confirm when Gibernau can race again, but he will certainly miss the next round in the Netherlands.

Marco Melandri, who fell in the same incident, will remain hospitalized under observation a further 24 hours.

Roush backs Montreal race Roush backs Montreal raceBROOKLYN, Mich. -- NASCAR’s premier team owner yesterday applauded the stock car racing group's decision to hold a race in Canada in 2007.

Jack Roush, whose Roush Racing Fords have won two of the past three NASCAR Nextel Cup championships and who also fields teams in the Busch Series that will be at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal next season, said it was a decision that has been long overdue.

"I have been a proponent of holding a NASCAR event in Canada for years," Roush told The Toronto Sun yesterday.

Roush said that although he never has been to an event at the Montreal track, he knows the whole country will get behind a race there.

"I have been to Mosport a lot where I raced sports cars," Roush said. "And I know how passionate Canadians are about racing, no matter what kind."

"I am no economist but I see the whole of North America as one big marketplace," he said. "And Canada is an important part of it." zzzz

Roush said the Montreal track has the necessary infrastructure to hold a NASCAR event.

"They have a facility where they put 130,000 people in for a Formula One race," he said.

"So they can do it for NASCAR."

Expect to see all five of Roush's Nextel Cup team drivers -- Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray -- at Montreal if the date coincides with one of the weekends when they are racing at either Pocono or New Hampshire as both are just a short jaunt to Montreal.

Current speculation has Montreal getting the NBS race on the third Saturday in July that currently is held at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

That is the same weekend the Cup teams are in Pocono International Raceway, less than 500 km south of Montreal. Cup drivers routinely fly to Saturday Busch races if they are not too far away.

Roush also has promising Canadian Pete Shepherd III under a driver development contract. The Brampton native is expected to run some ARCA races this season in preparation for a possible Craftsman Truck Series ride in 2007 with a chance -- if he does well in the other series -- to make a start in Montreal. Toronto Sun

Rahal team hires new marketing chief Rahal team hires new marketing chiefHILLIARD, Ohio - Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR) announced today the hiring of Brian Roemer as Vice President of Sales and Marketing.   Roemer has spent the last six years as the Director of Marketing for Michigan based Sports Management Network, Inc.  He brings extensive motorsports experience to RLR in sponsorship development, acquisition and implementation, endorsements and event planning. 

He has worked with a wide array of sponsors, teams and drivers during his tenure at Sports Management Network, Inc. including 2006 Indy 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. and three generations of the Andretti family Mario, Michael and Marco.  Prior to joining SMN, Roemer served as Michael Andretti’s personal manager.

Roemer will be charged with leading the team’s marketing department and primarily in generating additional sponsorship for Rahal Letterman Racing’s IndyCar Series program and any additional motorsports programs the team may undertake in the future. zzzz

“I am very pleased Brian has chosen to join us at Rahal Letterman Racing,” said Bobby Rahal. “Brian is one of the outstanding young executives in sports marketing and he brings a wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment to take RLR to greater heights. I know Brian will bring tremendous value to our company and its current and future clients.”

“The opportunity to join Rahal Letterman Racing and to help the team move into the next phase of its history is an outstanding opportunity personally and professionally,” said Roemer.  “Bobby and Dave have created an environment where the team’s partners can design a marketing initiative that meets their individual corporate needs. That on-going flexibility and accommodation have been a cornerstone of the strong business relationships that have been built by this organization.” 

Roemer will join Rahal Letterman Racing at the end of June. RLR

PIR ticket sales soft? PIR ticket sales soft?With ticket sales and TV ratings softening for almost all NASCAR Nextel Cup races it comes as no surprise to hear that Phoenix International Raceway is having to pay to have drivers sell tickets for them.  This may also be why PIR is fighting a potential Champ Car street race in Phoenix so vehemently, they are already aware that selling out two Cup races may be getting very difficult.

Press Release: Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber has announced that NEXTEL Cup drivers Kasey Kahne, JJ Yeley and Joe Nemechek will join the PIR staff, selling tickets for the Checker Auto Parts 500 at the PIR Ticket Offices from Noon - 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 22. Fans looking to secure tickets for NASCAR's Semi-Final Showdown Weekend at PIR can purchase their tickets directly from drivers beginning at Noon. Driver interaction is limited to selling tickets and they will only be signing autographs on purchased tickets. The PIR Ticket Office is located in Avondale, at 125 S. Avondale Blvd., Suite 200. Ticket windows are open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Tickets and information for these events can be found at phoenixraceway.com or by calling, 602-252-2227 or 1-866-408-7223.(6-18-2006)

Swintal celebrates 25th Cleveland GP Swintal celebrates 25th Cleveland GPAs a follow up to his successful print for the same venue in 2004, motorsports artist and Champ Car Clerk of the Course Jim Swintal has created an 18x24 print entitled "25 Years of the Grand Prix of Cleveland."  The print features memorable moments and accomplishments from the event, and includes images of legendaries Rahal, Unser and Sullivan all the way up to modern day favorites such as Moreno, Gidley and Bourdais. The central image of the print is a stunning aerial/plan view of all 24 winning cars streaming through Cleveland's infamous Turn One.
The print retails for $20.00, and can be purchased exclusively this weekend from the Champ Car World Series merchandise trailer at the Grand Prix of Cleveland.  Those not attending the event can contact Jim directly at jswintal@yahoo.com
LAT USA sponsored entries sweep Portland races LAT USA sponsored entries sweep Portland racesIn an amazing performance, the Forsythe Racing LAT USA entries of AJ Allmendinger (Champ Car) and James Hinchcliffe (Champ Car Atlantic) were victorious on Sunday at Portland International Raceway." These was the first run of the LAT USA decals on all six Forsythe Racing cars." The decals were placed on the two Champ Car entries in Milwaukee, but this was the first run for the Atlantic entries with LAT USA branding. zzzz

A.J. Allmendinger
Champ Car Race Winner
Third in Championship Points
"This is absolutely amazing. I still don't think I really understand it and believe that it happened." I know with like seven or eight laps to go, I started tearing up." I told myself to stop being a sissy and finish the race because I hadn't won anything yet." I can't thank Forsythe, LAT USA, and the whole team enough for everything they've done for me this weekend."

James Hinchcliffe
Won the Atlantic Series Race
Climbs to Second in Points
"Passing, getting passed, cars coming on, cars going off, cars breaking down - it was like the race nobody wanted to win - but I'll take it!" "But for us to come back from a difficult weekend at the last race in Monterrey to put two guys on the podium is a testament to just how hard our guys work. And I had to win the race; I couldn't let A.J. (Allmendinger, Forsythe Champ Car Team) make us all look bad by winning on his first weekend on the job. We pulled it off in style!"

Peter Davies SVP Business Development, Forsythe Racing
"Honestly, we think the LAT USA photographers are the WORST photographers in the business." There are a lot of them, but they can't seem to get a sharp photo of a moving car, regardless of how many of them are trying." Since we really needed some photos of our cars, we arranged to have them parked in Victory Lane, where even the LAT USA crew managed to get some barely usable images."

Neil Micklewright VP of Team Operations
"Everybody knows the LAT USA photographers are crap." But since all of the other teams assume that they can't take an in-focus picture, they don't worry about having them around, and we've received some really excellent shots of the other teams cars!" Thanks to that, we were able to whip them all this weekend!"

Mike Levitt Director, LAT USA
"We were thrilled to be part of a historic partnership with the Forsythe racing team, a team that I have admired for more than a decade." When our decals went on the Champ Cars in Milwaukee, it was the first time that a photo agency had sponsored a team at the highest levels of racing, and a very proud moment for the entire LAT USA crew." Then... disaster!" With both Forsythe cars out before a single lap had been completed, we were concerned that the team would connect their bad luck with LAT USA!" Luckily, nobody at the team made that connection, and when we arrived in Portland, we were relieved to find the LAT USA decals proudly displayed on all six Forsythe cars." Congratulations to AJ, James, and the rest of the team on an excellent performance."

Next week the Forsythe Team heads to Cleveland, the next round the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The Forsythe drivers had a dominating performance last year at the Cleveland Grand Prix, with Paul Tracy winning the race followed by A.J. Allmendinger in second. You can log on to www.champcar.ws for up-to-date results, standings, and news features.

Industry News
ISC sets up $300M Line of Credit ISC sets up $300M Line of CreditInternational Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ: ISCA - News; OTC Bulletin Board: ISCB - News; "ISC") today announced that it has closed on a five-year, $300 million revolving credit facility (the "Facility") that can be utilized for general corporate purposes, including external growth opportunities.

The Facility was jointly led by Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and SunTrust Bank, with Wachovia Bank, National Association acting as Administrative Agent. The three banks acted as Joint Bookrunners for the Facility, which was syndicated to a select group of lenders including: Bank of America, N.A. ("Bank of America"), JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. ("JPMorgan") and Regions Bank. Bank of America and JPMorgan also acted as Co-Documentation Agents.

The Facility replaces ISC's $300 million revolving credit facility, which was scheduled to expire in September 2008. The Company elected to enter into the Facility at this time to take advantage of favorable financial market conditions. The Facility also contains a feature that allows for ISC to increase the Facility to a total of $500 million, subject to certain conditions. zzzz

Pricing on the Facility ranges from LIBOR + 0.3% to LIBOR + 0.8%, depending on ISC's highest debt rating as determined by Moody's or S&P. Comparable pricing on ISC's previous credit facility ranged from LIBOR + 0.625% to LIBOR + 1.5%, and was also contingent on ISC's highest debt rating.

International Speedway Corporation is a leading promoter of motorsports activities in the United States, currently promoting more than 100 racing events annually as well as numerous other motorsports-related activities. The Company owns and/or operates 11 of the nation's major motorsports entertainment facilities, including Daytona International Speedway in Florida (home of the Daytona 500); Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama; Michigan International Speedway located outside Detroit; Richmond International Raceway in Virginia; California Speedway near Los Angeles; Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas; Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona; Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida; Martinsville Speedway in Virginia; Darlington Raceway in South Carolina; and Watkins Glen International in New York.

Other motorsports entertainment facility ownership includes an indirect 37.5 percent interest in Raceway Associates, LLC, which owns and operates Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway near Chicago, Illinois.

The Company also owns and operates MRN Radio, the nation's largest independent sports radio network; DAYTONA USA, the "Ultimate Motorsports Attraction" in Daytona Beach, Florida, the official attraction of NASCAR; and subsidiaries which provide catering services, food and beverage concessions, and produce and market motorsports-related merchandise under the trade name "Americrown." In addition, the Company has an indirect 50 percent interest in a business called Motorsports Authentics, which markets and distributes motorsports-related merchandise licensed by certain competitors in NASCAR racing. For more information, visit the Company's Web site at http://www.iscmotorsports.com .

Statements made in this release that express the Company's or management's beliefs or expectations and which are not historical facts or which are applied prospectively are forward-looking statements. It is important to note that the Company's actual results could differ materially from those contained in or implied by such forward-looking statements. The Company's results could be impacted by risk factors, including, but not limited to, weather surrounding racing events, government regulations, economic conditions, consumer and corporate spending, military actions, air travel and national or local catastrophic events. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward- looking statements is contained from time to time in the Company's SEC filings including, but not limited to, the 10-K and subsequent 10-Qs. Copies of those filings are available from the Company and the SEC. The Company undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be needed to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. The inclusion of any statement in this release does not constitute an admission by International Speedway or any other person that the events or circumstances described in such statement are material. ISC

Aero updates for Williams Aero updates for WilliamsThe first round of the North American double header takes place this weekend, race nine of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Canadian Grand Prix. This year’s event will mark the 38th Canadian Grand Prix since its inception in 1967 and the 28th time the race has been held in Quebec’s cosmopolitan capital, Montréal. Named after the first race victor, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is located on the picturesque Ile Notre Dame, and is one of the most unique and technically demanding tracks on the calendar. Having secured eight victories in Canada out of 27 starts, the WilliamsF1 Team will be looking to draw upon its experience for a points finish this Sunday.

Away from his testing responsibilities, Mark has been busy watching the World Cup on TV and celebrating Australia’s 3-1 victory over Japan! He was also paying particular attention to the Australia v Brazil game as Mark has been invited to report on it for the “VIPs Love Football” section on www.FIFAworldcup.com before heading off to Canada on Tuesday. Nico has also enjoyed some down time to catch up with events on the pitch, but will head out to Canada early to assist team sponsor, Budweiser, in their annual promotional event which takes place on Wednesday in downtown Montréal. Alex will also join in the fun and spend the day meeting and greeting Budweiser customers and Formula One fans before undertaking a series of media interviews to conclude the day. zzzz

In preparation for the high speed nature of the Canadian track, the team spent three days after its home race at Silverstone in Monza. Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Alex Wurz were all on duty and completed a series of tests on tire compounds, aero items and brake materials as well as working on suspension and gearbox development and set-up comparisons all ahead of this weekend’s race. The trio lapped just over 2,500kms of the Italian circuit while Nico recorded the fourth fastest time of the week. As a result of the work successfully completed in Italy, the team will deploy upgraded FW28s in Montréal.

One of the few remaining power tracks, where top speeds can reach 330km/h and the average lap is driven at 210km/h, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve provides a mixed 2.7 miles of long straights interspersed with slow chicanes and imposing curbs making a fluid rhythm hard to maintain. Engine power is rewarded on straights such as the Pont de la Concorde so engines must provide drivability and torque but be durable enough to survive 60% of the lap spent at full throttle. Fierce acceleration is often followed by acute braking events for the slow speed corners, so heavy duty brakes and efficient cooling capabilities are crucial at corners such as L’Epingle hairpin while, over the full 70 lap race distance, brake temperatures will reach in excess of 1,000°C. A temporary track, Montréal lacks grip in the opening practice sessions so set-up is often a conundrum while the track beds in, but the drivers must find the balance in time for qualifying. With few overtaking opportunities, a good qualifying position and a strong strategy are, therefore, of the essence.
Mark Webber
“I’m looking forward to the two North American races. It’s always good returning to Montréal because the atmosphere reminds me of Melbourne in some ways. It’s a bit more relaxed than some of our more recent races, and the track is set in a nice location. The circuit requires a completely different aerodynamic package to the ones we’ve used for the first part of the season, which means a low to medium downforce level to help our top speeds. It also means we could see a slight change in performance from some teams as it’s a fresh opportunity to find pace, I’m certainly hoping it’ll provide us with a chance to improve our performance in the right direction.”

“Traditionally, Montréal is heavy on brakes and that’s why we were testing in Monza last week. It’s also a circuit which rewards good horsepower from the engine, so that should be a positive for us. We certainly need both Williams’ in the points at Montréal.”

Nico Rosberg
“I'm really looking forward to the Canadian Grand Prix for two big reasons. Firstly, we had a good test in Monza last week running the low to medium downforce set-up so everything is in order for the Montréal track. We should be stronger there than we were at Silverstone and we have the potential to score some points. The second reason is that everybody keeps telling me that the Canadian Grand Prix is one of the nicest races of the season. It will be my first time there and, although that makes it a greater challenge, I'm looking forward to getting everything out of it that I can.”

Sam Michael, Technical Director
“Montréal is a low drag circuit, more so now with the v8s, and is made up of long straights, a lot of slow corners and chicanes. There are two or three good overtaking opportunities every lap which always makes for good racing at this circuit. Traditionally hard on brakes and temperatures, the window will shift slightly this year following the reduction in power levels and the increase in tire grip compared to last season."

"We have a full car upgrade for Canada in the shape of front and rear wings, winglets, nose and diffuser revisions which were all tested and successfully signed off at the Monza test. Strategy at Montréal is always interesting and this year will be no exception.”

Simon Corbyn, Head of F1 Race Engineering, Cosworth
“Cosworth will install two fresh CA2006 Series 4 engines for the Canadian Grand Prix, as scheduled. Results from last week’s Monza test are directly relevant to Montréal and this data will now be used to define the engine control system calibrations for the event. Montréal features notoriously tough braking events and so we’ll be working closely with Williams to optimize the engine braking settings for this circuit.” Press Release, Williams Cosworth

Racing News
'Cars' holds pole position 'Cars' holds pole positionPixar's "Cars" managed to stay ahead of a crowded field of four new wide releases and take its second lap in first place at the box office. "Cars," the family comedy from Pixar Animation, grossed an estimated $31.2 million, off a steep -- for a Pixar film -- 48% from its debut a week ago. The G-rated "Cars" had the biggest drop of the previous three Pixar releases, which had an average sophomore frame slip of 30% between them. That said, it was the lowest drop of this weekend's top 10 films. The John Lasseter-helmed picture has reached $114.5 million in 10 days, crossing the $100 million mark Saturday. "Cars" is the 50th release from Buena Vista to gross more than $100 million, the most of any studio. Hollywood Reporter
Schu refuses to concede title fight Schu refuses to concede title fight(GMM)  Even with the odds stacked against him, Michael Schumacher is refusing to give up the hunt for an eighth F1 title in 2006.

Currently somewhere in North America with his wife Corinna for a pre-double-header holiday, the Ferrari driver denied that a 23-point gap to reigning champion Fernando Alonso is too high a hurdle with ten races to go.

''Challenges like that are in my blood,'' insisted Schumacher, 37, ''and they can be very enjoyable as well.''

Perhaps boosting the German's motivation is the fact that Montreal is a bit of a bogey-circuit in terms of reliability for Renault and Alonso, even though the blue and yellow package is usually quick.

But technical director Bob Bell agrees that Renault's world championship lead is a more than handy asset to have.

''If we can go past the halfway point with this kind of advantage,'' he said, ''it means our rivals have to not only replicate our performance but go even further.

''That won't be an easy thing to do.''

Audi rules out F1 Audi rules out F1(GMM) Audi has ruled out entering formula one in the near future.

The marque, whose parent company Volkswagen is also regularly linked with a possible grand prix foray, won the Le Mans 24-Hour race at the weekend with its innovative diesel-powered R10, but denied that F1 is the next step.

''F1 is too far away from road car technology,'' head of Audi Sport, Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, was quoted as saying by 'sid' news agency.

Audi/VW's direct luxury car rivals in Germany, however - BMW and Mercedes-Benz - are well-ensconced at the pinnacle of motor sport.

But Ullrich insisted: ''F1 is simply too expensive for us.''

For now, then, Audi is content to leave its formula one connection at a high-revving rumor -- that Michael Schumacher could one day appear for Audi in the German 'DTM' category.

''I wouldn't rule it out,'' Ullrich winked, quickly adding that 'absolutely no discussions' with the Ferrari star have taken place.

Two More Victories For J.R. Hildebrand Two More Victories For J.R. HildebrandPortland, Ore. – J.R. Hildebrand turned in another remarkable display of his talent by claiming a brace of victories this weekend on his first-ever visit to the Portland International Raceway road course. The 18-year-old standout from Sausalito, Calif., is now unbeaten in six Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship races this season, matching the record set by last year’s champion Jay Howard.

"It was another good weekend," said Hildebrand. "It was great to race in front of the Champ Car and Atlantic series teams and show what we can do, and to come away with two more wins is tremendously satisfying."

New Zealander Andy Knight sprung to prominence by finishing second on Saturday and posting the fastest lap during a fine comeback charge on Sunday after a first-lap incident in a very scrappy affair, while Pacific F2000 Championship leader Robert Podlesni capped an impressive Cooper Series foray by securing a pair of podium finishes.

The opportunity to compete at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland attracted a high-quality field of 27 cars to PIR, with a smattering of West Coast contenders seeking to take on the established Cooper Series stars. zzzz

Hildebrand once again was the man to beat, posting the fastest lap in qualifying on Saturday morning and securing the pole for the first of two 30-minute races in the Cape Motorsports team’s #2 Formotion/Spy Optics/Mockett.com Van Diemen RF05. Venezuelan Ricardo Vassmer (#25 Meridiano TV/Santa Barbara Air Van Diemen RF06) started on the outside of the front row on his first appearance for the JDC Motorsports team.

Hildebrand jumped immediately into the lead on Saturday afternoon, while Knight’s #33 Latimer Hotel/G.FRO Van Diemen emerged in second after the predictable first-corner scramble into the Festival Curves.

Knight, who was relishing the opportunity to work with veteran driver-turned-race engineer Bill Fickling for the first time, kept Hildebrand under pressure during the opening stages. Soon, though, the Kiwi driver began to struggle with oversteer and Hildebrand was able to edge away to secure a comfortable victory.

Podlesni (#84 Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen RF03) had slipped back into the pack after the early skirmishes, but the 18-year-old from Thousand Oaks, Calif., mounted a spirited charge toward the front, and Knight needed to employ some robust defensive tactics to keep "Poodles" at bay at the checkered flag.

Another West Coast driver, Nick Haye, from Huntington Beach, Calif., took a game fourth in his #4 PR1 Motorsports Mygale SJ04, followed by the unlucky Vassmer who was another to lose positions at the start.

Sunday’s race was far more fraught, peppered with full-course caution periods and even ending under the red flag followed a frightening accident that saw Chris Hundley’s #31 The Limousine Connection/G.FRO Van Diemen flipping wildly on the back straightaway. Hundley, from North Hollywood, Calif., was fortunate to emerge unscathed.

Jason Byers, from Livonia, Mich., chose to short-cut the Festival Curves to avoid a huge first-corner melee, and in the process vaulted his #28 A&B Refrigeration/St. Clair Motorsports Van Diemen RF03 into the lead from sixth on the grid. He led for several laps before Hildebrand regained the point with an expertly judged pass under braking for the Festival Curves. Podlesni also worked his way past Byers with a bold maneuver on the back straightaway. The stage seemed to be set for an eagerly awaited tussle between the East and West Coast championship leaders.

Sadly, it didn’t come to pass due to a series of incidents. At one of the restarts, another talented teenager, Shaun Modisette, from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., pulled off a sensational move under braking for the Festival Curves, moving his #26 Carson Trailer/Ray Stephens Racing Van Diemen RF01 all the way from fifth to first. Unfortunately for him, the race was red-flagged shortly thereafter, and with the positions having been shuffled confusingly when several drivers chose to short-cut the chicane in avoidance of yet another fracas, the officials posted the results according to the order at the end of the previous lap. Hildebrand thus was awarded the win ahead of Podlesni, Byers, Haye and Modisette.

The Cooper Series will continue next weekend with two more races, also in conjunction with the Champ Car World Series, at the fast Burke Lakefront Airport temporary circuit in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.

Unleaded fuel update Unleaded fuel updateNextel Cup cars will be mandated to run unleaded fuel beginning with next season's Daytona 500. NASCAR's Busch Series cars will switch to unleaded fuel on a temporary basis starting with the July 29 race at Gateway International Raceway, before running the brand full-time in 2007 along with the Cup and Craftsman Truck Series. "The plans are for Sunoco to evaluate what they learned for three or four races in the Busch Series beginning at Gateway, then come back later and finish out the [2006] season in the Busch and Truck Series running unleaded fuel," NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said. Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Portland backers hope race will return Portland backers hope race will returnBenny Minthorn comes from Pendleton every year to watch Oregon's biggest auto race. With binoculars dangling from his neck, Minthorn soaked in Sunday morning's temperate weather and savored the lead-up to the Champ Car Grand Prix.

"I love the noise," Minthorn said, grinning. "That's what it's all about. I don't even wear earplugs."

Not all Oregonians are so enchanted with the race, which has been in Portland each year since 1984. Crowds well over 150,000 used to jam Portland International Raceway over the course of a race weekend, eager to follow the circuit's famous names: Andretti, Rahal, Unser.

Like a driver surging from the back of the pack, Sunday's Grand Prix showed hopeful gains and attracted an unexpected spectator: Portland Mayor Tom Potter.

The race's announced attendance increased for the second consecutive year, to a three-day total of 77,065, almost 13,000 more than last year. Corporate sponsorships were up by $100,000, said Mike Nealy, president of Global Events Group, which has promoted the race since its inception.  (Photo to right courtesy of Champ Car shows a noticeably larger crowd than in recent years)

But Champ Car series events averaged more than 150,000 last season, leaving Portland lagging behind cities that have races and competing with ones that want them. Portland's status as the only Northwest race in the series makes it important, but its attendance figures leave it "on the bubble," said Steve Johnson, president of the Champ Car World Series.

During the race's heyday in the early 1990s, Sunday crowds hovered near 60,000 - more than pack Autzen Stadium for an Oregon football game. But in recent years, race-day crowds ebbed at about 15,000. This Sunday was announced at 44,065 - an encouraging figure but not a groundswell.

"It just seems like we're doing a lot of the same things the same old way that we've done it, and we're expecting different results, and that's stupid to do that," Johnson said. "So I am going to encourage a new look, a new way of doing business here, a new way of reconnecting with the fans, as well as with the corporate partners here."

That could include changing promoters and seeking out more big-name sponsors such as Nike, Johnson said. Local organizers should know within two months whether the Grand Prix will return to Portland next season, Nealy said.

Race organizers sprinkled tickets throughout City Hall offices but apparently got few takers. Most city commissioners planned to be at Portland's gay pride parade, their spokespeople said, and Potter did, too.

Yet Potter appeared at the track around the race's finish, track manager Mark Wigginton said. The mayor mingled with fans and said he wanted to see what the event was all about, Wigginton said.

That scene was a departure from a City Council hearing in April in which Potter floated the notion of moving Portland International Raceway to the Rivergate Industrial District, about nine miles north of downtown Portland. The reasoning? Some neighbors of the North Portland track detest the racket.

Champ Car and IRL are slowly moving toward a merger. But it probably won't happen before next season, organizers say.

Evidence of open-wheel racing's evolution, even among race fans, was evident Sunday. Numerous fans said that although they loved the race, they didn't have a favorite driver. In NASCAR, an almost familial devotion to drivers helps keep fans coming back year after year.

Yet in what might be a good omen for Champ Car, Allmendinger won his first race Sunday, celebrating to chants of "U-S-A" from the crowd.  More at Portland Oregonian
Pescarolo says regulations will keep manufacturers out Pescarolo says regulations will keep manufacturers outPescarolo Sport team Henri Pescarolo, whose C60 cars are fitted with normally-aspirated Judd petrol engines predicts no new manufacturers will enter sportscar racing because of the rules.

At the end of the 24-hour LeMans race the first-place Audi stopped a total of 27 times while covering 380 laps at the La Sarthe circuit. The second-place Pescarolo, which similarly had a rather trouble-free event, had to stop five times more than its rival, managing a total of 376 laps, but they still would not have won.

"With these regulations it's impossible for a normal car to beat a diesel car except if there are some reliability problems," the Frenchman told autosport.com.

"It was a difficult race because it seems the regulations are much better for diesel cars than for normal-engined ones.

"If the ACO (the 24-hour race organizers) is not going to change the regulations there will be no more cars like mine in Le Mans, because you are eight or nine seconds slower than a diesel car and there's no reason to come back here if we have no chance at all.

"Manufacturers like Porsche, Nissan, Toyota or Honda will never come even if they want to, if they have to be far behind another car."

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Hungary dodges F1 tobacco ban
Villeneuve wins BMW boost
Bernie's billions
Michelin 'pleased' with dismissed Indy lawsuit
Klien and Toro Rosso
Five squads fight for best-of-rest plaudit
Now Gene samples life on two wheels
MotoGP in Spain: Injured rider update MotoGP in Spain: Injured rider updateSete Gibernau was diagnosed with a broken collarbone and concussion after crashing in the Catalunya Grand Prix.  Gibernau's Ducati team said he would need an operation and is a doubt for next week's Dutch Grand Prix.

The Spaniard was one of six riders involved in the high-speed crash, including teammate Loris Capirossi.

Capirossi will remain under observation overnight, while Honda's Marco Melandri was diagnosed with concussion, a badly strained neck and a damaged collarbone.

Ducati released a statement about Gibernau that read: "Surgeons will replace a plate inserted after an earlier accident with a larger plate but they will wait 24 hours before the operation due to his concussion.

"It is too soon to say when he will race again."  More at BBC
Jeff Gordon to co-host "Live with Regis and Kelly" Jeff Gordon to co-host "Live with Regis and Kelly"UPDATE Reminder: that this show will air on Tuesday, June 20.  Check local listings for network and times (mostly 9:00 a.m. all time zones).

06/16/06 Jeff Gordon is scheduled to co-host the popular daytime talk show "Live with Regis and Kelly" on Tuesday, June 20. The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet will fill in for host Regis Philbin. "Live with Regis and Kelly" is in its 18th year of national syndication and continues to wake up millions of Americans each day. "Live with Regis and Kelly" has been distributed in national syndication by Buena Vista Television since 1988. Performance Plus PR
Racing News
Quotes of the week Quotes of the week
KEVIN KALKHOVEN, Champ Car co-owner
"I am not going to allow the arrogance of people like this to remove choice for the motorsports enthusiast of the United States."  (Referring to NASCAR/ISC's attempt to kill the Champ Car street race in downtown Phoenix)
ROBERT BLENDU, Arizona State Senator
"As far as I'm concerned, I don't care if he wants to race frogs." (Referring to Dale Jensen, a partner in the Arizona Grand Prix LLC)
NORBERT HAUG, Mercedes Competition Director
''Rubbish.  Whoever says such things should be locked up with the key thrown away.'' (Slamming speculation that the German carmaker could supply privateer MF1 with customer engines next year)

"I think it was probably the most frustrating race I've ever been a part of right from the beginning,” said Bourdais.  “You know, if you think the first start was ugly, I think the second one was probably about the worst thing I've ever seen in my life." (Referring to the two botched up starts of the Portland Champ Car race)
Barcelona gets MotoGP extension Barcelona gets MotoGP extensionA new deal has been agreed to keep MotoGP racing in Spain for another five years.

The series’ commercial rights holders Dorna Sports and Circuit de Catalunya confirmed the MotoGP Gran Premi de Catalunya will continue until 2011.

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, said: “The circuit has collaborated with Dorna ever since we entered the championship in 1992 and every year has seen a successful event which we hope will continue long into the future.” 

Spain has three races on the 17-round calendar, more than any other country - Barcelona, plus Jerez and Valencia.
Attendance up significantly in Portland Attendance up significantly in PortlandUPDATE The race-day crowd was announced at 44,065, up significantly from around 25,000 the past two years.  The three-day attendance figure for this weekend’s event was 77,065 – a 19.7 percent increase over last season.

06/18/06 Although no attendance figures have been announced yet, attendance for today's Champ Car race in Portland is up significantly over the past two years. It remains to be seen whether it will be enough to ensure the race remains a fixture on the schedule.
Michigan’s sellout streak ends Michigan’s sellout streak endsFor the first time in 30 NASCAR races, Michigan International Speedway was not a complete sellout.  Of course, during that time Michigan's seating has gone from 51,341 in 1990 to the present 137,238 (including VIP suites), and the price of the cheapest seat (somewhere in the third turn) is now $45, with the most expensive (not counting VIP suites) going for $110.  With that said, it is further evidence that NASCAR's popularity is softening. Tim Wohlford
Audi triumphs with TDI Power at Le Mans Audi triumphs with TDI Power at Le Mans
Hinchcliffe wins in Portland Hinchcliffe wins in Portland
Rossi wins Catalunya GP Rossi wins Catalunya GPWorld champion Valentino Rossi cruised to victory at the Catalunya MotoGP in a race marred by a first-lap crash.  Italian Marco Melandri and championship leader Loris Capirossi were both taken to the track's medical clinic after the crash, which involved six riders.

Rossi started on pole but had to work his way up from sixth on the Yamaha after a slow restart to finish 4.509 seconds clear of Nicky Hayden's Honda.

Kenny Roberts Jr was third on a KR211V, with John Hopkins fourth on a Suzuki.

"The start was difficult," said Rossi.

"Normally it is hard to concentrate, but after a crash like the one we saw today it is even more so.

"I was especially worried about the condition of Marco Melandri, who seemed to come out badly from the first-corner incident.

"Fortunately when I got back to the box Dr Costa told me all three riders were conscious and were doing OK."

"I made a mistake on the second start, and dropped a number of positions," said Rossi.

"From there I had a full tank and it was difficult to overtake, but once I had caught up with the first group I got faster."

Hayden closed a little on Rossi in the later stages of the race but he was unable to mount a serious challenge.

Catalunya MotoGP results
1. Valentino Rossi (It) Yamaha 41:31.237
2. Nicky Hayden (US) Honda 41:35.746
3. Kenny Roberts Jr (US) KR211V 41:40.411
4. John Hopkins (US) Suzuki 41:44.702
5. Colin Edwards (US) Yamaha 41:53.785
6. Chris Vermeulen (Aus) Suzuki 41:56.435
7. Makoto Tamada (Jpn) Honda 42:01.859
8. Carlos Checa (Sp) Yamaha 42:02.514
9. James Ellison (GB) Yamaha 42:30.440
10. Alex Hofmann (Ger) Ducati 42:45.299
11. Jose Luis Cardoso (Sp) Ducati 43:18.052

Domino’s and Burger King to back Waltrip's Toyota team Domino’s and Burger King to back Waltrip's Toyota teamBROOKLYN, MI – Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced today it has formed a unique partnership with two marquee brands – Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) and Burger King Corporation (BKC) to be co-primary sponsors of its second 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team.

“When we first approached Burger King and Domino’s Pizza, we knew we were thinking outside of the box and didn’t know if two food brands would be willing to work together to sponsor the same team,” said Michael Waltrip.  “We took the risk and are very excited to have two of the world’s most recognized brands sponsoring the No. 00 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team.”

“It’s not unusual for two or more sponsors to split a sponsorship season,” said Ty Norris, General Manager for Michael Waltrip Racing. “However, this is the first time that two companies within the same industry agreed to be sponsors of the same car during the same season.  This is another example of the unprecedented approach Michael Waltrip Racing is taking to becoming a multi-car NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team organization.”

Domino’s will kick off the season at the Daytona 500 and continue as the primary sponsor through the May race in Darlington, SC.  A Domino’s paint scheme will also adorn the No. 00 Toyota Camry at the August NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.  Domino’s will deliver its final five races during the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship.  zzzz

“We’ve taken a strategic approach to our involvement with NASCAR and have been rewarded by the fans as we moved from the number three pizza choice to number one in a few short years,” said Ken Calwell, Domino’s Chief Marketing Officer.  “By splitting the 2007 season with Burger King, we are able to implement our marketing and promotional efforts at different points throughout the season that make sense for our brand and build more meaningful connections with fans and customers.” 

The No. 00 Burger King Toyota Camry will hit the track Memorial Day weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC, and cap off the regular season under the lights at Richmond International Raceway.  Five Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, including the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will feature the Burger King paint scheme.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to extend our 2006 primary sponsorship commitment with Michael Waltrip Racing for another year,” said Russ Klein, Chief Marketing Officer, BKC.  “Our HAVE IT YOUR WAY® philosophy is about giving our customers experiences they want.  We’re looking to deliver a winning season in 2007.”

The split-season sponsorship allows Domino’s and Burger King to continue their respective relationships with Michael Waltrip Racing, while positioning both companies at the forefront of the changing motorsports industry. 
The team along with input from both sponsors is in negotiations to secure a driver and will make a separate announcement once a driver has been determined.   

“I hope we find a driver who likes to eat,” said Waltrip.  “I’ve had an opportunity to work with both Domino’s Pizza and Burger King in the past and believe we’re delivering a race team the fans will love.”

Domino’s, the Official Pizza of NASCAR, partnered with MWR three times in 2005 as the primary sponsor on Waltrip’s No. 99 NASCAR Busch Series car and will be the primary sponsor of Waltrip’s No. 55 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series car at the Michigan International Speedway race in August.  Burger King recently announced plans to join MWR for a partial season in 2006, sponsoring the No. 00 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup car for five races beginning in July at Chicagoland Speedway. MWR

Update from Michigan Update from MichiganWEATHER is likely to be a key story at Michigan.  Already the skies are overcast, and the prediction for rain (80%) matches what we're seeing on the radar.  Track temps will be much cooler than yesterday's mid-90's.  Accordingly, the green flag start has been moved up to 1:40. Tim Wohlford
PIR wrong to fear street race PIR wrong to fear street raceDebate over Champ Car event in downtown Phoenix takes immature turn

by Paola Boivin
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 17, 2006

Gentlemen, start your injunctions.

A simple debate about the viability of a proposed street race in downtown Phoenix has morphed into a raging "he said, he pled" that has inspired nasty rhetoric, threats from attorneys and confusion from a populace that can't make heads or tailpipes out of this mess.

The proposal is a Champ Car World Series race that would feature Indy-style cars buzzing past downtown sports venues in November 2007. The loudest critic has been Bryan Sperber, the president of Phoenix International Raceway, whose attacks of the event have come across so sophomoric that he's actually cheapening his argument.

Sperber's references to a "hokey street race" and a "rinky-dink race" are ludicrous to those of us who have seen Champ Car at its best in venues such as Long Beach, Calif., and Cleveland. His condescending tone screams of someone worried about maintaining his auto racing monopoly, not about the Champ race's impact on the community, as he suggests.

This is where it gets silly. The event will have minimal impact on his two NASCAR races. No audiences among U.S. sports fans are more loyal than those of NASCAR's, and the experience at PIR, where many fans arrive days early in recreational vehicles, can't be duplicated by Champ or anyone else. People won't say, "Hmmm, should I go to an open wheel race or a NASCAR race in the month of November?"

It doesn't work that way.

No one's arguing that Formula One races didn't flop in downtown Phoenix in 1989, 1990 and 1991. Businesses along the route suffered and some residents were trapped in their homes.

Nothing suggests that the race proposed by businessmen Dale Jensen and Brad Yonover would duplicate those problems. One, the city won't let that happen. Two, this group has a much more sophisticated model that includes Champ Car's "3-Day Festival of Speed," which is the event's core business. Remember, this is a different organization putting on the race.  More at Arizona Republic

LeMans: 22-Hour update LeMans: 22-Hour updateLE MANS, France – The 24 Hours of Le Mans is heading down the final stretch with the No. 8 Audi R10 TDI ahead by five laps with two hours to go.

In GT1, the No. 009 Aston Martin DBR9 had a long pitstop for transmission problems and the No. 64 Corvette C6.R has taken a 6-lap lead over the sister Aston Martin.
 22 Hour Standings | Saturday Photos
Aston Martin falters, Corvette takes lead Aston Martin falters, Corvette takes leadFor the third year in a row the American Chevy Corvette team (Car 64 of Gavin, Beretta and Magnussen) appears headed to victory in the GT1 class in the 24 Hours of LeMans when the British Aston Martin  team's leading #009 car ran into transmission problems after the 21-hour mark.  More later.....
Button not key to Honda crisis - de Ferran Button not key to Honda crisis - de Ferran(GMM)  Gil de Ferran has played down suggestions that Honda, and the team's lead driver Jenson Button, are in a crisis-like decline.

The former Indy 500 winner, who moved from America last year to be the F1 squad's 'sporting director', insists that - despite Button's nightmare home race at Silverstone a week ago - the 2006 package is simply not perfect.

''We are very close, the car is competitive,'' said Brazil's de Ferran, ''we just need to improve a little bit.''

He added: ''But the other teams are not standing still, so we need to improve faster than (them).  We don't lack the resources to do that.''

However, 38-year-old de Ferran - who was actually born in France - admits that Honda is not on the verge of making its breakthrough with a maiden win this season.

''There is little room for error if you want to win consistently,'' he continued.  ''It takes time and preparation to get all these factors (to win) together at the same time.''

And even talented Button, Gil de Ferran said, is unlikely to be the decisive ingredient in the recipe for GP wins.

''Drivers alone cannot win with a poor car,'' said de Ferran.  ''They are an important part of the puzzle but not everything.''

LeMans: 20-Hour update LeMans: 20-Hour updateLE MANS, France – The 24 Hours of Le Mans is heading down the stretch with the No. 8 Audi R10 TDI ahead by four laps with four hours to go. The diesel-powered prototype and other American Le Mans Series entries were in excellent shape for class wins and podium finishes.

Frank Biela was lapping in the 3:38 range as the 74th running of the most prestigious race in the world moved past the 20-hour mark. He had completed 316 laps and led the Pescarolo Sport entry. Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner took the lead during the third hour and have yet to give it up.

“Although I’m tired, I’m anxious to this clock wind down!” said Pirro, who is going for his fourth overall win at Le Mans. “I wish we were competing in the 20 Hours of Le Mans, but we are in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. So we will keep going. Audi has always produced very reliable and fast machines. The surprise for me is that the other car has had so many problems. We were prepared, and theoretically nothing should have gone wrong. But racing is racing.”  zzzz

The pole-sitting No. 7 Audi R10 TDI continued to lap in third position after a variety of maladies, ranging from turbocharger issues to fuel filter problems. Tom Kristensen was near the same pace as Biela but was eight laps back from the second position.

Audi is trying to become the first manufacturer to win at Le Mans with a diesel engine. Already, the R10 TDI has been victorious at Sebring, and the two cars will return to North America and the American Le Mans Series starting in mid-July at Salt Lake City's Miller Motorsports Park.

In GT1, the No. 009 Aston Martin DBR9 continued to lead over the No. 64 Corvette C6.R by nearly a lap. Olivier Beretta did his best to chase down Stephane Sarrazin for the lead, but the leading green British entry was able to keep the Corvette in front of him and in his sights.

“The car still feels really good to drive, so you can push hard,” Sarrazin said. “I maintained the gap over the 64 car, our nearest rival, throughout my double stint, so I’m happy. The circuit is really dirty, so you need to have maximum concentration at each corner.”

The second Aston Martin Racing entry was third in class with the No. 63 Corvette C6.R and ACEMCO Motorsports S7R fifth and seventh, respectively.

Miracle Motorsports kept up its steady pace and stayed in second place in LMP2 as the hours wound down. A winner at Sebring last year, the KUMHO-shod Courage C65-AER of owner John Macaluso, Andy Lally and Ian James were in prime podium position.

Intersport Racing maintained its fourth-place standing but was hurrying to make up seven laps and make the class podium.

In GT2, Flying Lizard Motorsports had moved from 12th position in class up to fifth during the night and into the afternoon. Johannes van Overbeek continued to drive the car hard with a podium position still a real possibility. The Petersen/White Lightning Porsche and the Panoz Esperante GTLM from Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz retired from the race during the night. 20 Hour Standings | Saturday Photos

Benson wins first truck race Benson wins first truck raceJohnny Benson, driving Bill Davis Racing’s Exide Batteries Toyota, held off a charging Mark Martin in a final, two-lap sprint to claim Saturday’s Con-way Freight 200 at Michigan International Speedway.

The victory was Benson’s first in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series after finishing second on four occasions.

“You can’t write the book any better than that,” said Benson, who grew up in nearby Grand Rapids. “The only way it would have been better was to have gotten it a year ago.”

Benson led twice for 31 laps around the 2.0-mile superspeedway. He passed Martin’s Scotts Ford on a lap 73 restart following the event’s fourth of eight cautions. The move – a low lane moved at the start-finish stripe - proved fortuitous as Martin never got a run long enough to show his truck’s strength. zzzz

“Our truck’s strong suit was long runs and it didn’t play out that way,” said the three-time series winner in 2006.

Benson averaged 116.534 mph in a race scheduled for 100 laps but extended two serials by an accident between Turns 3 and 4 involving Martin Truex Jr. and Kerry Earnhardt.

Benson won $56,600 in his 60th series start, edging Martin by .112 second – about two lengths. He became the 17th different driver to win in all three of NASCAR's national touring series.

Ironically, Benson joined the Davis team on a fulltime basis at MIS in 2004. Crew chief Rick Ren now counts seven victories with four different drivers.

Martin, who led a race-high 33 laps on six occasions, was followed to the stripe by Bobby Labonte. Labonte, a last-minute addition to Bobby Hamilton Racing’s No. 4 team, gave Dodge its first top-five finish of the season.

Todd Bodine, who started a distant 25th in the 36-truck field, wound up finishing fourth in the Lumber Liquidators Toyota to extend his series point lead to 178 over David Reutimann. Matt Crafton was fifth in the Menards/Energizer Chevrolet ahead of Rick Crawford, Ron Hornaday Jr., defending race winner Dennis Setzer, Terry Cook and Jack Sprague.

Budweiser Pole winner Mike Skinner led the first 25 laps but fell back with overheating problems before recovering to finish 11th. Erik Darnell, in 12th, was the race’s best finishing Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender.

Thirty of the event’s 34 finishers completed all 102 laps – a series record.

Six drivers swapped the lead 14 times with Labonte, Crafton and Cook also heading the pack. NASCAR

Gilliland wins Busch race in Kentucky Gilliland wins Busch race in KentuckyPart-time NASCAR Busch Series driver David Gilliland stunned the racing world with his first career victory in the Meijer 300 presented by Oreo at Kentucky Speedway in only his seventh series start. He drove an unsponsored mount for Clay Andrews Racing. Like another David of another time, Gilliland took on NASCAR’s Goliaths and came out the victor. Crew chief Billy Wilburn, who guided NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace to numerous NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series wins in the past, never lost hope for a win even though Gilliland was forced to restart from 19th spot early in the race due to a bad pit stop. The young California driver’s impressive fourth place qualifying spot was a foretaste of things to come.

Pole-winner Denny Hamlin led the field to the green flag as outside front row-sitter Carl Edwards lost a transmission. Although it was replaced, Edwards lost nearly 30 laps in the process. Point leader Kevin Harvick spun on lap 1 to bring out the first of a record-tying 10 caution flags. Morgan Shepherd was punted by Mark McFarlane on the restart to bring out the second caution even before the race was restarted. The race’s first green flag lap was finally scored on lap 12. zzzz

Kyle Busch seemed to have the strongest car in the field, passing Hamlin for the lead on lap 23. Busch remained in contention for the win until an unscheduled pit stop late in the race. The event was red-flagged for nearly one half hour due to a frightening incident off Turn Two on lap 29. Jason Leffler tapped the wall and spun coming into the backstretch with Jeff Fuller close behind. Fuller turned his car to keep from center-punching Leffler and spun into the inside wall with a hard shot to the right side of the car. Fuller was transported to the infield care center awake and moving.

Gilliland’s win was the first by a NASCAR Busch Series driver in 2006. In fact, six of the first 10 finishing positions were taken by series regulars. Following David Gilliland was a hard-charging J.J. Yeley in search of his first series win. Behind Yeley was Hamlin with Mike Wallace and Ashton Lewis Jr. rounding out the top five. Harvick, Greg Biffle, David Reutimann, Paul Menard and Robert Yates development driver Stephen Leicht made up the top 10. A total of 47 laps were run under caution. There were 11 lead changes among seven drivers with Gilliland leading 11 circuits. His average speed for the event was 116.063 mph.

Kevin Harvick opened his points lead up to 372 markers over second place Carl Edwards. Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle make up the top five. The series moves on to The Milwaukee Mile for next weeks AT&T 250. NASCAR

Busch driver hospitalized Busch driver hospitalizedSPARTA, Ky. - Jeff Fuller was awake but groggy after a hard impact with the Kentucky Speedway inside backstretch wall during the Meijer 300 Saturday night.

After being removed from his car by safety personnel, Fuller was airlifted to the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center for evaluation. The track announced after the race that Fuller was in fair condition.

Fuller was trying to avoid the No. 38 car of Jason Leffler when Fuller's car darted across the track toward the inside wall, hitting a section where there is an opening for vehicle access. There was a flash fire before the car came to a rest.

"He is conscious and talking, but he is a little groggy - he took in a lot of smoke," team owner Frank Cicci said. "They're taking him to the university medical center to check him out." NASCAR Daily Scene

Portland: Wilson leads final race warm-up times Portland: Wilson leads final race warm-up timesBecause of the early 12:30 PM start for today's Champ Car race in Portland, the traditional Sunday morning warm-up was run on Saturday afternoon after qualifying. Teams worked on race setups and the man who dominated the race last year until his engine expired, Justin Wilson, was fastest.

With Wilson starting 4th and the top-3 separated by just 0.015 sec., Sunday's race should be a real dogfight.

Pos Car Driver Time Gap To 1st
1. 9 Justin Wilson 1:00.096
2. 1 Sebastien Bourdais 1:00.160 0.064
3. 6 Oriol Servia 1:00.335 0.239
4. 10 Cristiano da Matta 1:00.383 0.287
5. 2 Bruno Junqueira 1:00.604 0.508
6. 7 A.J. Allmendinger 1:00.612 0.516
7. 14 Dan Clarke* 1:00.784 0.688
8. 15 Alex Tagliani 1:00.819 0.723
9. 3 Paul Tracy 1:01.041 0.945
10. 4 Nelson Philippe 1:01.085 0.989
11. 27 Andrew Ranger 1:01.102 1.006
12. 8 Nicky Pastorelli* 1:01.125 1.029
13. 20 Katherine Legge* 1:01.254 1.158
14. 34 Charles Zwolsman* 1:01.286 1.190
15. 5 Will Power* 1:01.586 1.490
16. 19 Mario Dominguez 1:01.945 1.849
17. 18 Tonis Kasemets* 1:02.094 1.998
18. 11 Jan Heylen* 1:02.264 2.168
Earnhardt gets sole ownership of naming rights Earnhardt gets sole ownership of naming rightsDale Earnhardt told NASCAR.COM on Saturday that he and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. had agreed to terms Friday evening that awarded him sole ownership of the trademark rights to his lucrative name. Amazingly, it won't affect the earning potential of an asset estimated at some $5 million annually. Earnhardt said the current agreements between he and DEI won't change. NASCAR.com
Toyota to submit 2007 challenger Monday Toyota to submit 2007 challenger MondayThe 2007 Toyota Camry that will be used in 20 of the 36 Nextel Cup Series races next season will be submitted to NASCAR on Monday morning, Lee White, TRD (Toyota Racing Development) USA's senior vice president and general manager, said Saturday. White was at Michigan International Speedway in conjunction with Toyota's Craftsman Truck Series program and said the 2007 Camry, complete with the latest generation nose, would be delivered to the NASCAR research and development center in Concord, N.C. NASCAR will take the car to the Lockheed wind tunnel in Marietta, Ga., for testing on Monday evening, he said. The car, which was constructed at TRD's engineering facility in High Point, N.C., by the group led by engineer Todd Holbert, is scheduled to test for NASCAR on Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, driven by Toyota Truck Series driver Johnny Benson. NASCAR.com
Fred Brownfield Dies in Modified Accident Fred Brownfield Dies in Modified AccidentNorman, Okla. – Sprint car veteran Fred Brownfield, head of the National Sprint Tour that has set up in opposition to the World of Outlaws series, died Saturday when he was struck by a modified at a race event in Washington State. DIRT Motorsports released the following statement on his passing:

DIRT MotorSports and its staff are extremely saddened and stunned by the passing of Fred Brownfield. Our hearts go out to his wife, Debbie, and his entire family.

A tremendous sprint car racer, Fred became one the most hard-working and respected promoters in the business. Over the years he turned many sprint car races into highly entertaining events for fans and drivers alike at tracks across the country.

"Today is truly a sad day in motorsports because Fred Brownfield was one of the racing family's best promoters, most ardent supporters and dearest friends," said DIRT MotorSports President and CEO Tom Deery. "I have personally known Fred and Debbie for over 15 years, Fred Brownfield was a man of character and values. He will be missed by all of us." 

[Editor's Note: See our related article on Fred Brownfield written back in December when we criticized him for starting the NST and splitting the World of Outlaws sport a la Champ Car/IRL.  Despite our opposition to what he was doing with the NST, we still respected him for the contributions he made to the sport throughout his career and offer condolences to his family.]
Honda’s Clarke trying to find common ground Honda’s Clarke trying to find common groundHaving heard that merger talks have reached a stalemate, and with the blessing of Kevin Kalkhoven, Honda's Robert Clarke is in Portland this weekend talking to team owners and to Ford's Dan Davis about a merger between Champ Car and the IRL and to try and find common ground.

He is playing an intermediary role and what he is hearing is that at the end of the day the teams generally are not married to any particular equipment , powerplant or mix of races, they just want a merger to happen and the details should not get in the way. He's probably hearing similar comments over in the IRL paddock.

“I’m talking to the team owners in both series,” Clarke told SPEEDTV.com. “I came here with Kevin’s (Kalkhoven) blessing . . . I wouldn’t have come otherwise. I’ve done the same thing in the IRL paddock with Tony’s blessing.

“I want to be able to go back to Tony and Kevin and show them there’s unity within each series, but also within the community as a whole on the merger issue. Sure, people have their preferences on chassis, engines, schedules and the other issues, and of course they want the series to be affordable. But the real thrust of what they’re telling me is, there are no deal-breakers as such. Just get the merger done.”

All well and good, but has anyone bothered to ask the paying customers, i.e. the fans what they care about most?

LeMans: 18 Hour report LeMans: 18 Hour reportLE MANS, France – The diesel-powered No. 8 Audi R10 TDI continued on it steady pace as the race reached the 3/5-mark on Sunday with Biela/Pirro/Werner leading by nearly 4 laps at the 18-hour mark. 
18 Hour Standings
 | Saturday Photos
LeMans: 15 Hour report LeMans: 15 Hour reportLE MANS, France – The diesel-powered No. 8 Audi R10 TDI continued on its steady pace as morning fell on Le Mans on Sunday with Marco Werner leading by nearly three laps at the 16-hour mark.

Meanwhile, American Le Mans Series teams were in excellent position to capture victory in multiple classes. Aston Martin Racing remained in the lead in GT1, which Miracle Motorsports was still running steady in second place in LMP2. Saturday Photos

None of the drivers of the leading Audi could find much to complain about. The No. 8 prototype has had a nearly perfect run, save for a little tinkering here and there. On the other hand, the sister No. 7 car continued to be plagued with problems, including changing an entire turbocharger. It still remained in third place.

“The car is perfect, very easy to drive,” said Frank Biela, who is driving the No. 8 entry with Emanuele Pirro and Werner. “The only problems are those small details than can cost us precious time, like the headlamp bulb. You really have to be 100 percent all the time.” When asked to compare R8 and R10 at Le Mans, he said: “Both cars are different, but very pleasant to drive.”

Audi is trying to become the first manufacturer to win at Le Mans with a diesel engine. Already, the R10 TDI has been victorious at Sebring, and the two cars will return to North America and the American Le Mans Series starting in mid-July at Salt Lake City's Miller Motorsports Park. zzzz

Stephane Ortelli kept the No. 009 Aston Martin DBR9 up front in GT1 through the early-morning hours, having built almost a lap lead over the No. 64 Corvette C6.R. The Aston Martin had moved up to fourth overall, behind only three LMP1s.

“The car still feels really good to drive, so you can push hard,” said Stephane Sarrazin, who is driving with Ortelli and Pedro Lamy. “I maintained the gap over the 64 car, our nearest rival, throughout my double stint, so I’m happy. The circuit is really dirty, so you need to have maximum concentration at each corner.”

The second Aston Martin entry, the No. 007 car, was third in class. The No. 63 Corvette was seventh, followed by the ACEMCO Motorsports S7R.

Team owner John Macaluso took over for Andy Lally just past the 15-hour mark in the Miracle Courage C65-AER, which were performing well on its KUMHO rubber. Ian James climbed out of the car at 8:20 a.m. after completing a triple stint on his KUMHO tires, the team’s first triple stint of the race. “The tires looked fine,” said KUMHO motorsports manager Rudy Consolacion. “Because of the fuel pickup issue, the stints were a little shorter than usual. But even so, the tires still had plenty of life in them.”

After suffering a variety of mechanical issues, Intersport Racing’s Lola B05/40-AER climbed back up into fourth place in class. The podium was still in reach for the 2004 class champion.

In GT2, the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche was running seventh in class. Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz and Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing fell out of the race during the night.

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